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Michele Susan Lewane
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Michele Lewane’s Answers

111 total


  • Can I get in trouble for calling out of light duty assignment for pain from workers comp injury?

    I was injured at work. I had an appointment with a specialist where imaging was ordered. After the physical exam by the specialist, I was having increased pain. I tried to tough it out in light duty, which isn't all that "light" (but within the r...

    Michele’s Answer

    You are in a serious situation. You can be fired immediately for the no show( not once this case is over). You MUST have a doctor take you out of work. Ideally it is your workers comp doctor. A retroactive note doesn't count. The worst case scenario is that you are fired for not doing the light duty work, then you see the doctor and he puts you on light duty (but lighter than they were-i.e. no lifting over 1 lb.) and you do not get a workers comp check because you were fired for cause and you are still on light duty. Pain is not an excuse. If the doctor refuses to reduce your light duty, ask for pain mediation to get through the day. Workers comp rules are not in your favor. I strongly recommend talking with a workers comp attorney.

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  • I have a new employee who injured himself on his own time and did not sign up for benefits. Can he file for unemployment?

    He is still employed, but due to his injury cannot work 100% capacity and must be able to in order to return to work (field service). No unions involved. State Virginia. (right to work state) He is new and used up his PTO in a couple days. He...

    Michele’s Answer

    He has to be hurt at work to receive workers comp benefits. Remember the FMLA rules as well. After 12 weeks of unpaid leave, you are not required to leave his position open anymore. I would talk with a labor lawyer ( or just go on the website) to see if he would be entitled to unemployment benefits. If he pursues the workers comp, you would need to still get your workers comp insurance involved to defend the company.

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  • I was diagnosed with carpel tunnel and golfer's elbow so far. Do I have a WC case in VA?

    I hurt my self at work.

    Michele’s Answer

    If you were hurt by a specific immediate injury at work, yes. Carpel Tunnel syndrome can also be covered as an ordinary disease of life under very specific conditions. You should talk to a workers comp attorney about the details of your case so get a better answer. Also make sure you give your employer notice and file a claim for benefits with the Commission.

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  • What can I do

    I have a workers compensation case that I just receives a letter to appear for a deposition and I just want the case dropped. What do I do I don't want to attend the deposition can I just not attend and they will drop the case.

    Michele’s Answer

    Yes, but it would be better to give everyone a heads up. I would write a letter to the Commission and copy the person who sent you the notice to appear at the deposition that you want to drop your case. A complete no show may drag the matter out and the attorney may try to charge you for the court reporter fee for the no show.

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  • How might I win Discrimination suit after WC settlement and what other avenues are their if EEOC fails...CIVIL etc...etc..

    currently I am pursuing a discrimination suit with EEOC (psych disability) and after a WC settlement. Once they received documentation from EEOC their rebuttal was predictable. We already settled. However, I am not suing over those physical injur...

    Michele’s Answer

    It depends on the settlement documents. In Virginia, most employers require a general release of all claims along with the workers compensation settlement. You need to read the documents and see if you waived your right to sue for any reason not just the specific workers comp claim. If you did not sign a release, you need to speak with an Employment lawyer in PA to see if paying for psych treatment is considered a reasonable accommodation.

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  • When my wife get her settlement from workers comp am I entitle to file for anything and get paid also

    My wife is receiving workers comp weekly for over a year due to an back injury on her job that she work less than 90 days on. She is now schedule for surgery next month. She has hired an attorney and he told her he will sue and get her an settleme...

    Michele’s Answer

    In Virginia, and I believe all states, there is no money for pain and suffering in workers compensation. An Injured worker gets a portion of his lost wages and medical benefits and a few other small things that vary from state to state. You get benefits and then there may come a time that your benefits are settled. The settlement is "what is left over". How many more week will she be out of work, how much will the cost of her future medical benefits be? A portion related to future lost wages could be a consideration is a divorce. My recommendation is to speak to a local workers comp attorney who could explain how workers comp works in LA since each state has different rules and laws.

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  • Do I have a case or no?

    My husband had a stroke at work. Family is saying I should sue or claim workers comp since they called ME and not 911. Personally, I think it was best they called me as I moved MUCH MUCH faster! I don't think I have anything to sue for, but the...

    Michele’s Answer

    No case. Workers Compensation, in Virginia, does not cover all injuries or accidents that happen at work. His treating physician would have to say that what he was specifically doing at work at the time of the stroke was the cause of the stroke. "working hard all day" is not covered. Regarding "suing" for not calling 911, a lot would need to be proved: did the person have a duty to your husband to do anything, did his actions cause additional damage over an above the damage from the stroke that can specifically be identifired, was the action of calling you actual negligence. The other side would fight this vigorously arguing that the 30 to 60 seconds they used to call and explain the situation to you is nothing since you could have immediately called 911 after you got off the phone with them, that the coworkers are not medical experts to know what to do etc. To get them off your back , you can also tell them that the cost of litigating will be at a minimum of $5,000 to $25,000 since you would need medical testimony and doctors charge a lot of money.

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  • If my doctor says my type of injury could take months to heal & then releases me only weeks later.Are these grounds for malpract

    The Dr. writes me a note for light duty & he tells me to do 4 weeks of therapy and return to his office & while doing so he claims to have released me to full duty but I was seeing his PA who gave me an additional 4 weeks of PT & after it recommen...

    Michele’s Answer

    In Virginia, a treating physican's opinion is given great weight. Also, the injured worker has to prove his case. You need a doctor to say the injury is causing your medical problems.You should get a copy of all of your medical records and PT notes and review them and have a workers comp attorney review them as well. You may want to get a 2nd opinion, but you would need to pay for the office visit out of your pocket.Maybe you could go back to him and get him to refer you to a pain management doctor and get that Dr to say current issues are due to your work accident.You need medical evidence to prove your case. You can go to my website and order my free book on Virginia Workers Comp for more information or talk to a workers comp attorney now.

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  • In va i have had 3 out of 4 drs tell me i needed a spinal fusion.can i get another opinion?cuz my lawyer said i can't.

    All four drs are workers comp drs.one was even a IME dr.so the last one that seen me said since my emg nerve test was normal i didnt need surgery and most people my age have. the common problem. with their back and i can go to work .it don't make ...

    Michele’s Answer

    There are many factors that go into this question. However, I will try to answer it but in general terms. First, your lawyer should have a copy of all your medical records. If not he should request them and follow-up to get the correct medical causation that you need from those doctors. Next, you can go to as many doctors as you want and get as many opinions as you want. Unfortunately, the longer I practice, I realize that very good doctors can have some very different medical treatment plans. In Virginia, you have to give the other side a copy of all the medical records. Thus, if you go to a doctor and he gives you a medical opinion, you don't like, the other side still get the copy of it. This is an issue of strategy as to where you should go and how many more medical opinions you should get. Workers comp insurance carrier will not pay for another medical opinion. You would have to pay for this out of your own pocket. You can request your medical records directly from the medical providers. They will be copy charges. If your lawyer gets the medical records, there will be copy charges as well, but based upon your agreement with the attorney you may not need to pay the attorney back until your case is settled. I am reading your question to mean that you want surgery and the last IME Dr. said you did not need the surgery and the insurance company is siding with the IME Dr. If this is correct, the strategy would be to go back to your original workers comp Dr. and see if he still says you need surgery after he reviews the EMG nerve test. Backs heal very slowly and the condition of your back changes over time, so if doctors a few years ago, said you need surgery,their opinion is not going to be given as much weight as a more recent medical opinion. Also, your workers comp treating physician's opinion will be given greater weight than an IME. At that point, the insurance company is still not going to voluntarily pay for the surgery, but you can request a hearing with the workers comp commission to order the insurance company to pay for the surgery. This is an evidentiary hearing. The injured worker has the burden of proof. So you have to prove more likely than not that the surgery is reasonable, necessary and related to your original work accident. The insurance company doesn't have to do anything. If you do not have your evidence together at the hearing, you will lose. You have to have an attorney with you to deal with this medical causation problem. You will need your attorney to get the correct medical causation in the correct legal terms in order for the commission to rule in your favor. I would talk to your lawyer and ask him what is the next strategy or options that you may have. You may not have the evidence to go to a hearing and you will need to pay out of pocket to get updated medical opinions, you may be able to go to a hearing or you may be able to settle your case.

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  • How do I file a Workman's Claim with my employer?

    I am in High School and work for at a pizza place with a boss who is not very kind. I fell at work in front of my boss and am going to the ER today because I think I sprang my ankle and wrist. I also can't afford not to work. Can I get compensat...

    Michele’s Answer

    Also make sure you get an out of work slip or light duty restrictions so you can show both of your employers.

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