Worker's Compensation or Personal Injury?
I Just got a call from an old friend. His father was severely injured in a car accident on the freeway. Dad was driving a work vehicle in the course and scope of his employment. His employer insisted on sending the injured worker to the employer's hack industrial medical practice which is covered by their worker's compensation insurance. Not knowing any better, employee did as instructed. He was told by the doctor that he was fine and should go home and get some rest and he should be fine in a few days. If the pain gets too bad, take a couple Tylenol.
Injured worker – let's call him "Mark", then called me. Mark told me his in pain. He wants therapy and medication for his pain. He doesn't think he should be going back to work in three days as the comp doctor told him. I told him that he can see any doctor he wants to see. I told him that he has choices. I told Mark that he can elect to pursue a personal injury case against the driver and/or owner of the car that hit him, or make a worker's compensation claim, or he could even do both. Caution, I told him, because if he elects to do both claims, he may have to use the proceeds of one claim to pay back the medical providers in the other claim.
Generally speaking, when we are injured at work and the injury is caused by someone other than our employer, we are best served with a personal injury claim against the wrongdoer. In the case of a very serious, even career ending injury, that's the time we want to proceed with a worker's compensation claim. Typically, the insurance coverage in a worker's compensation claim is higher than in a personal injury claim.
Mark said thank you. He told me he would think about what he was going to do and then call me back when he decided. When Mark called me back he told me he wanted a referral to a knew doctor. I made the referral and got mark in to see an internist who immediately referred him for an MRI and to see an orthopedist. We are currently waiting for the results of the MRI and have scheduled Mark for therapy starting tomorrow. We expect the course of therapy to run about three months. Mark's doctor told him that he should not be working as a shuttle driver or otherwise sitting for long periods of time for at least two weeks. They will reevaluate his injury after that time.
Can you believe that Mark actually felt bad that he didn't go back to the hack industrial clinic? I can. He felt bad because he is a nice guy who was getting taken advantage of by a corporate employer and a worker's compensation doctor that is seeking to work as little as possible. Mark's new doctors and therapists are happy to see him. They treat him as needed and don't get paid a dime until the case settles. Sounds like a much better deal for Mark, doesn't it?
Then I told him to continue with a worker's compensation claim. Only, we will get him treatment from our doctors, not his work doctors. After we are done we will resolve both claims. We will get paid by two separate sources. And, yes, will most certainly have to pay back some money to his worker's compensation provider. But, in the end, we will have more treatment, more bills, better care and a much larger settlement. All in all, a better result for our client.
If you have been injured in an auto accident or any other accident which was not your fault and you need a lawyer to help you out, call me:
Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to meeting you.
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