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If your worker’s compensation claim has been denied, you need a powerful and committed worker’s compensation attorney. Even when your claim has not been denied but you’re faced with long periods of time off work and an uncertain future, we’re knowledgeable and dedicated advocates in protecting your rights. At Kingree Law, we know you don’t want to be dependent on anyone for your living. We believe in helping workers across Wisconsin get the treatment they need, get back to work, and get the benefits they deserve. When a disability is permanent, we’ll help get the support you need to restore or compensate for your loss of earning capacity.
When to Hire an AttorneyWorker’s Compensation Benefits
Attorney Luke Kingree has been a tireless advocate for Wisconsin workers for many years. He is approachable, knowledgeable, skilled and determined to get you the maximum benefits available under the law. He understands the physical, emotional and financial burdens that workplace injuries take on injured workers and is committed to ensuring that your interests are protected. When your benefits have been denied, or when you have a permanent wage loss because of a work injury, Luke can help. If you want someone who listens to you and your concerns and fights for you with tenacity and expertise, call Kingree Law today for a free consultation. You can also contact us by clicking on this link.
We understand that seeking benefits under the worker’s compensation law can be difficult and unsettling. My staff and I regularly communicate with you and return your calls and emails. Although contesting a worker's compensation denial takes time, we move as quickly as possible.
When you contact us, my staff and I will:
Worker’s compensation insurance carriers often hire “Independent Medical Examiners” or “IME” doctors to review your claim. There is nothing “independent” about those doctors. They are hired guns. When your doctors support the work injury, ongoing treatment, and disability from the work injury, the insurance carrier is obligated by law to provide you with benefits unless they have a contrary opinion from an IME, or another defense. Sometimes the IME doctor will agree with you and your doctors but most of the time they do not.
Many doctors who provide these “independent” medical examinations make a lot of money examining dozens of worker’s compensation claims every month and they want to continue to be hired in this capacity.
If you see an IME doctor, the exam often lasts somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes. Then, later, you get a report about 10-20 pages long talking about how you had a strain or minor injury that resolved within a few weeks, or that you don’t need any more treatment. The IME doctor can also say that your current problems are due to a pre-existing condition that was not aggravated by the work injury, or say that you are no longer disabled due to the work injury.
You may not even see this doctor Instead the doctor may review your records and provide a written opinion on your condition without ever examining you, called an “Independent Record Review” or “Medical Record Review.” The worker’s compensation insurance company can obtain your medical records without an authorization once you claim a work injury (HIPAA privacy laws for medical records don’t apply once you make a claim for worker's compensation).
If your claim has been denied by an IME doctor or a medical record review, contact us right away. The good news is that most worker’s compensation judges know the score on these doctors, although that doesn’t mean you will win. Worker’s compensation judges are administrative judges who cannot take sides - they must preside over hearings for benefits in a fair and impartial manner. To be successful in winning your claim, you will need to present the best possible case against the insurance company - Luke Kingree, with his knowledge of the law and the system, will challenge the results of the IME or medical record review and work with your doctors to ensure that the judge knows the real cause of your injuries.
When your claim is denied, worker’s compensation insurance carriers often send you a letter stating that if you disagree with their decision you can contact the Department of Workforce Development – Worker’s Compensation Division for information on how to appeal. The letter also says you have the right to apply for a hearing and can contact the Division for a hearing application. Like most legal processes, there are rules and practices that are not apparent in the law or the materials provided to explain the law. To file an effective appeal, you need someone with experience working within the system and knows how the process works.
Filing an appeal on your own is always challenging. You’ll be sent forms and basic information on how to appeal. You will not be given information on how to win your case. You won’t be given answers to questions on your medical treatment, what to do to make ends meet, how to navigate issues with your employer, or what happens after the process is over. Most importantly, you won’t be told how to maximize your benefits or all the benefits that you may be entitled to. You will need an experienced and dedicated Wisconsin worker’s compensation attorney. Contact us to ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
Your employer must accommodate your temporary or permanent restrictions if they can reasonably do so. Your employer is not required to “make work” for you if none is available. If they do not bring you back to work and you are in the healing period before all your treatment has ended, you are entitled to temporary wage loss benefits. If they do not bring you back to work after you have reached the end of healing and you have permanent restrictions, you may be entitled to more than just the permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits your doctor assigns. You may be entitled to retraining (education) or loss of earning capacity benefits.
If your permanent restrictions cause a wage loss, even if you have returned to work at your employer where you were injured, you may be entitled to retraining (education) or loss of earning capacity benefits. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for claiming these worker’s compensation benefits. Contact us for a better understanding of the benefits that are available to you to minimize the impact of a job-related injury.
If your employer refuses to bring you back to work unless you are “100%” or you have no restrictions, what happens next depends on your situation. If your claim has not yet been denied by the worker’s comp insurance carrier, and you are in the healing period still receiving medical treatment for your injury, you should receive a wage loss benefit from the carrier. There is often nothing that a worker’s compensation attorney can do to force the employer to bring you back to work, even if work is available within your restrictions. Your only remedy is the wage loss benefit from the worker’s comp carrier while in the healing period. An employer cannot terminate you for filing for worker’s compensation benefits and if your employment has been terminated contact us right away.
If your worker’s comp claim has been denied, but you are still in the healing period, you won’t receive any wage loss benefit and you will be in a difficult financial position. See the answers to other FAQs here and here. Contact us right away if this occurs. Your claim has been denied and you will need an attorney to fight for your rights and maximize the benefits that you can recover in an appeal.
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