Workers Compensation Claim Denied: What’s Next?

A trade-off between an employer and employee, worker’s compensation protects the rights of employees who are injured during the course of their employment. The compensation, depending on the nature and complexity of the case, varies, taking the form of wage replacement, medical benefits, or other forms of financial support.

Like a personal injury claim, however, a worker’s compensation claim can be denied. When a claim is denied, it simply means that the employer, or in most cases, the insurance company, believes that a person’s claim is not covered or eligible for compensation according to the law. Among the most common reasons for denial are the late filing of the claim, lack of witnesses, and discrepancy in medical records.

Denied

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Once a claimant receives a note stating the illegibility of his or her claim, the first step is to review the grounds for denial and learn the procedure for appeals, specifically the deadline and requirements for filing. And because some denied claims can be due to erroneous paperwork and processes, it is also essential for workers to talk directly to their employer or insurance company prior to filing an official complaint in any court.

sad-worker

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If the appeal is denied, the final step is for the employee to contact a lawyer specializing in worker’s compensation as soon as possible. An attorney will determine the best alternatives and solutions for a denied worker’s compensation claim.

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Which is which: The difference between survival action and wrongful death

The days where a personal injury claim dies with the victim are long gone. Various states have passed laws that recognize both survival action and wrongful death claims. These two, although tied together in preserving the rights of the deceased, cover different forms of damages.

The major differences between these two are the key elements probed for the validation of the claim, damages covered if each claim has been proven, and the aspect of distribution of the said damages.

Image Source: CosmosMagazine.com

Key elements

In a wrongful death claim, breach of duty and causation are the burden of proof established throughout the case. The basis of damages to be covered by the claim is the act or lack of action of the entity at fault.

In survival action, the inquisition goes beyond the negligence of duty. Survival action takes into consideration the difficulty experienced by the victim between the accident and death.

Damages covered
Designed as reparation to the family or dependents of the victim, a wrongful death claim covers lost wages, medical expenses, and other financial issues that the death has brought to surviving relatives or dependents.

Meanwhile, survival action doesn’t merely focus on the aftermath of the death. It covers the probable damages that the victim would have been able to fight for if he or she had survived. Laws.com describes this as “the continuation of tort actions that the victim would have been entitled to raise in life.” In Washington, survival action also considers the expenses incurred by the victim while the person was struggling for life at the hospital, regardless of the duration of the stay.

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Distribution of claims
In wrongful death cases, relatives (immediate or distant), and rightful dependents may receive the settlement in behalf of the victim.

However, in survival action claims, the victim’s estate will be the primary premise for distribution of damages. Only the heir or lawful dependent of the victim will be entitled to the damages recovered, as stipulated by the will of the victim.

Can representatives file for both? This depends on the statute governed by State law. Some states allow the filing of both claims and receiving the compensation for both. However, states like Virginia only allow the representative to recover either of the two.

Sheeley Law, LLC provides representation for the families or dependents of victims of wrongful death. To read more related topics on this legal matter, visit this blog.

Marketing Your Small Law Firm, Part 1

by Ann Sheeley

After 22 years of practicing law for others, I decided to open my own firm in 2010. Sheeley Law, LLC, based in Newport, Rhode Island, has done well, though starting one’s own firm is never easy, as other law firm owners surely know firsthand. Major firms have vast resources at their disposals, but as the owner and attorney of my own firm, I had to call on ingenuity and experience to market myself to clients. I hope that my experiences may aid other law firm owners in smoothing the road to success they travel.

Firstly, you must know your products. Just as small business owners must choose a product and put all their business and marketing savvy behind it to distinguish themselves, so too must law firm owners do the same for their particular area of practice. At Sheeley Law, I specialize in personal injury. I possess some knowledge of other areas, but if I were to market them as well as my personal injury experience, I might find myself out of my league should a complicated case outside my area present itself.

Next, consider the types of clients you wish to serve. Do you work in a high-end town filled with affluent businesses and families, or in a middle- to low-end region? Your clientele affects your marketing strategy. Different types of clients respond differently to the same type of marketing. Seek to attract clients using methods and means that may speak to your potential clientele in a positive manner.

Once you know your product, your area of expertise, take time to learn how prospective clients view that product. Why should a client invest in your legal services versus someone else’s? What value does your firm offer them, and how does that value compare to the cost of your service? By analyzing yourself, your business, and your expertise from the client’s perspective, you will gain insight into their minds. Apply that insight to make yourself more marketable to them.