Testing for Traumatic Brain Injuries

January 6, 2016 by · Comments Off
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“Because traumatic brain injuries are usually emergencies and because consequences can worsen swiftly without treatment, doctors usually need to assess the situation rapidly.”  (taken from http://www.mayoclinic.com)

 

Brain injuries are complex and your doctor will need to know all the details of what happened in order to better access your situation.  The questions below can help you to better understand the information your medical providers will need in order to properly treat you.

 

Information about the injury and symptoms

How did the injury occur?

Did the person lose consciousness?

How long was the person unconscious?

Did you observe any other changes in alertness, speaking, coordination or other signs of injury?

Where was the head or other parts of the body struck?

Can you provide any information about the force of the injury? For example, what hit the person’s head, how far did he or she fall, or was the person thrown from a vehicle?

Was the person’s body whipped around or severely jarred?

 

Once the medical care provider has accessed the situation, if a traumatic brain injury is suspected, the doctor can determine what testing would be appropriate for you.  The tests listed below seem to be the most common types of diagnostics that doctor use to check for and measure brain injuries, however I’m sure that there are more out there (testing descriptions and explanations taken from http://www.mayoclinic.com).

 

Glasgow Coma Scale – This 15-point test helps a doctor or other emergency medical personnel assess the initial severity of a brain injury by checking a person’s ability to follow directions and move their eyes and limbs. The coherence of speech also provides important clues. Abilities are scored numerically. Higher scores mean milder injuries.

 

Computerized tomography (CT) – A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed view of the brain. A CT scan can quickly visualize fractures and uncover evidence of bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), blood clots (hematomas), bruised brain tissue (contusions) and brain tissue swelling.

 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of the brain. Doctors don’t often use MRIs during emergency assessments of traumatic brain injuries because the procedure takes too long. This test may be used after the person’s condition has been stabilized.

 

Intracranial pressure monitor – Tissue swelling from a traumatic brain injury can increase pressure inside the skull and cause additional damage to the brain. Doctors may insert a probe through the skull to monitor this pressure.

 

If you or someone in your family is dealing with a TBI as the result of a work injury or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

 

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

Medications and Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

January 6, 2016 by · Comments Off
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Treatment for traumatic brain injuries can be a variety of therapy, medication and even surgery.  I took the below information from http://www.mayoclinic.com to explain the different types of medications and surgical options that doctors may use to treat an injured worker after suffering a TBI.

 

Medications

Medications to limit secondary damage to the brain immediately after an injury may include:

 

Diuretics – These drugs reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and increase urine output. Diuretics, given intravenously to people with traumatic brain injury, help reduce pressure inside the brain.

 

Anti-seizure drugs -  People who’ve had a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury are at risk of having seizures during the first week after their injury. An anti-seizure drug may be given during the first week to avoid any additional brain damage that might be caused by a seizure. Additional anti-seizure treatments are used only if seizures occur.

 

Coma-inducing drugs – Doctors sometimes use drugs to put people into temporary comas because a comatose brain needs less oxygen to function. This is especially helpful if blood vessels, compressed by increased pressure in the brain, are unable to deliver the usual amount of nutrients and oxygen to brain cells.

 

Surgery

Emergency surgery may be needed to minimize additional damage to brain tissues. Surgery may be used to address the following problems:

 

Removing clotted blood (hematomas) -  Bleeding outside or within the brain can result in a collection of clotted blood (hematoma) that puts pressure on the brain and damages brain tissue.

 

Repairing skull fractures -  Surgery may be needed to repair severe skull fractures or to remove pieces of skull in the brain.

 

Opening a window in the skull – Surgery may be used to relieve pressure inside the skull by draining accumulated cerebral spinal fluid or creating a window in the skull that provides more room for swollen tissues.

 

Often treatment for brain injuries will also include some type therapy and rehabilitation.  See my other blog posts for additional information about rehabilitation for traumatic brain injuries.

 

If you or someone in your family is dealing with a TBI as the result of a work injury or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

 

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

 

I’m worried about being fired if I file a Workers’ Compensation claim

January 6, 2016 by · Comments Off
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This is one of the main concerns I hear from injured workers. I am sad to say that in Virginia, workers’ compensation does not have any provisions for job protection. Virginia is an employee at will state and the sad truth is your employer can fire you after an injury just as easily as they can fire an uninjured employee. While Virginia does have laws protecting employees from retaliation and discrimination by their employers, workers’ compensation does not address these issues.

 

Issues of retaliation and or discrimination need to be addressed by a labor or employment law attorney (my office can help you locate one if you need help with this).

 

The good news is, if you are terminated while the doctor has you out of work because of your injury or while the doctor has on you light duty restrictions because of your injury, workers’ compensation can still pay you lost wage benefits (my office can fill you in on how to request these benefits).

 

I know the idea of being out of work is terrifying, especially in today’s economy but what scares me more is the idea of an injured worker pushing themselves too far in the name of keeping their job. A lot of injured workers’ out there will violate their doctors restrictions in hopes of avoiding any job termination and end up injuring themselves worse – then they are really in a pickle when they are still injured, paying for the medical bills out of their pocket, and out of work with no money coming in and very little hope of finding a new job while they are still recovering from their injuries.

 

It is a slippery slope and I always suggest that injured workers consult an attorney if they are dealing with any of the situations detailed above.

 

If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

 

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

 

 

2013 Workers’ Compensation Fraud in Ohio

January 6, 2016 by · Comments Off
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Two owners of Triple Star Roofing, a company doing business in Ohio, have been found guilty of felony charges for workers’ compensation fraud.  These two individuals falsely reported information to the state reflecting that they had no employees when in fact they had several.  Instead of listing their employees as employees, they classified them as “independent contractors” to avoid having to pay for workers’ compensation coverage for their staff.  The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation did an investigation and found that these independent contractors were in fact employees and now Triple Star Roofing is in some serious trouble!

 

Read the full article here:  https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/home/current/releases/2013/081513.asp

 

I just find it to be amazing that injured workers’ have to jump through so many hoops in order to get benefits as a way to prevent fraud when employers and insurance companies are, more often than not, the ones committing the fraud!

 

If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

 

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

Workers’ Compensation Terms – Part 3 – The Legal Lingo

January 6, 2016 by · Comments Off
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The legal terms in workers’ compensation can get really confusing if you don’t have a firm understanding of what they mean, especially since there are several different terms or abbreviations that can have the same meaning.  Get familiar with the list below to help you clear picture of what is going on with your claim.

 

*Please remember these terms are provided to give you a clearer picture of what is going on with your workers’ comp claim, the meanings given in this context are not necessarily the legal definition nor are they the only definition of that term.

 

CFB:                                      Claim for Benefits- The form that the injured worker has to fill out and file with the VWC to formally request their benefits and protect themselves from the SOL.

 

Award Agreement:             The form that the insurance company creates and mails to the injured worker to sign and return.  The insurance adjuster will then sign and mail the Award Agreement to the Commission which triggers the Commission to issue an Award Order.

 

Award Order:                       Award – The document from the VWC that specifically sets forth what the injured worker is entitled to (like LIFETIME medical benefits or payment for lost wages), that is enforceable under Virginia law.  This is the document that needs to be CORRECT and in place in order to protect injured workers’ from time limitations on benefits in Virginia.

 

Claimant:                              Claimant/Injured Worker/IW – The person injured at work or person seeking benefits through the Workers’ Compensation system.

 

DC                                          Deputy Commissioner/Commissioner-  The official residing over Workers’ Compensation Hearings who makes rulings and decisions on claims and whether or not Claimants are entitled to benefits based on the evidence presented at the Hearing.

 

Interrogatories                    Interrogatories/Rogs – Written testimony.  Generally this is a list of questions given from one party in a claim to another in order to gather information relevant to the issues of the case.  This is a mandatory part of the pre-trial process.  Interrogatories can be used against either party at a Deposition or a hearing.  Information and facts not mentioned in the Interrogatories cannot be raised at the hearing.

 

Deposition                           Deposition/Depo – Recorded testimony.  Generally this is a questions and answer session, under oath, where opposing counsel verbally asks the claimant questions and the claimant’s answers are recorded by a court reporter.  This is mandatory part of the pre-trial process.  Defense attorneys usually try to use Depositions against an injured worker and file the deposition transcript with the Commission.

 

FROI:                                     First Report of Injury- The form used by employers to notify the VWC that an injury has occurred; this form can also be used for statistical reports.

 

SOL:                                      Statute of Limitations- Very strict time limits placed on injured workers’ by the state of Virginia restricting how much time they have to request certain benefits.

 

VWC:                                     Virginia Workers’ Compensation/Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission-  The state entity, separate from the insurance company, that oversees the administration of work compensation benefits and, when appropriate, schedules hearings for workers’ compensation issues to be litigated

 

DOA/DOI/DOL:                    Date of Accident/Date of Injury/Date of Loss – The date the work injury occurred.

 

If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

 

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

The 10 biggest mistakes injured workers make after a work place accident

September 4, 2015 by · Comments Off
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I have many injured workers who call me months after an injury because they did not want to have to seek legal counsel, did not want to upset their employer or some other reason. Listen up folks – you may not need an attorney right away, but you have got to get some good solid information about this system and make sure YOU are aware of your RIGHTS and RESPONSABILITIES as the injured person. Workers’ compensation can be an unforgiving system and you need to get education so you can protect your benefits. I have made up a list of the 10 biggest and most common mistakes that injured workers make during this process. Some of these things cannot be “undone” by an attorney so you need to know these things NOW!

1) Work for an employer who does not pay for workers’
compensation insurance.

2) Fail to report an accident immediately.

3) Delay, even for one day, obtaining medical evaluation
and treatment.

4) Fail to complete and submit required workers’ compensation forms to the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission.

5) Agree to an employer’s suggestion to overlook an injury.

6) Fail to disclose previous injuries or preexisting medical conditions.

7) Misunderstand medical-care and treatment options.

8) Fail to appeal a workers’ compensation claims adjuster’s denial (through the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission).

9) Believe an insurance company will be on their side.

10) Fail to obtain a consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

If you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

CALLING ALL VIRGINIA WORKERS – MAKE SOME NOISE!

August 28, 2015 by · Comments Off
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I get several calls a week from injured workers wanting to know who makes these harsh workers’ compensation laws and who they can contact about this. The Workers’ Comp laws of Virginia are made by your elected officials at the General Assembly. To find out who your elected official is, visit the General Assembly website here  and click on the link “Who is my Legislature?”.

Working as an attorney in Virginia, I am bound by the laws of the state – meaning that I have to work within the laws set forth by the state of Virginia, I do not have the power to change the laws- but YOU DO! Write to your state representatives! Let them know how this system has impacted your life and the hardships you have faced because of it! Make some noise!
Virginians need to stand together and be heard
. It will not be an easy fight and nothing will happen overnight but the more people who stand up and let the state know this approach is flawed, the closer we may get to correcting this broken system!

If you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

 

 

Pro Se Injured Workers are at risk….

August 21, 2015 by · Comments Off
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What is a Pro Se injured worker? A Pro Se injured worker is an injured worker dealing with the workers’ compensation court process on their own, without the assistance of an attorney. I read an article the other day that estimates that 40% or more of the injured workers in Virginia are not represented by legal counsel – and we wonder why the insurance companies are enjoying profits like they have not seen in decades!

While every situation is different and some folks may not immediately need legal representation, many folks who go it alone regret it later on. People mistakenly believe that the insurance company is there to help them – and often times, the Adjusters will lead injured workers to believe this! The truth is, the insurance company is paid by the employer – not the injured worker – so the insurance company is representing the employer and looking out for their best (financial) interests.

The other immediate risk to Pro Se injured workers is that they may not know the rules for obtaining and continuing workers’ comp benefits – these are harsh rules that are rigidly enforced and not knowing the rules is no exception in Virginia.

DON’T EVER FORGET THIS!

If you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

The struggles injured workers face

August 14, 2015 by · Comments Off
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I read another article in WILG the other day that talked about a study done in Virginia of injured workers who have dealt with the workers’ comp system. Many severely injured workers were contacted approximately 3 years after their on the job injury and interviewed about their experience with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system. I know these complaints all too well as I have seen first hand how these barriers can affect people’s lives.

The biggest issues injured workers’ complained of were:

• Limited access to medical care
• Language barriers between patients and their doctors
• Injured workers’ being fired or having their claim negatively impact their work environment
• Language barriers between injured workers and potential new employers
• Limited availability of suitable alternative employment in the injured workers’ area
• Little or no job retraining
• No access to continuing education as a means to re-join the work-force

If you are dealing with an injury at work, talk to someone – know your rights and what is expected of you in order to obtain and keep your benefits. If you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

Check out this press release on our Superstar Team Member, Lorraine B. D’Angelo, Esq.!

August 11, 2015 by · Comments Off
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Check out the latest press release from prweb.com highlighting our superstar attorney Lorriane B. D’Angelo.  We are so happy to have Ms. D’Angelo as a team member here at Injured Workers’ Law Firm!

 

Here is a little preview from the article:

“I prefer representing the injured worker because the injured worker tends to be less knowledgeable about the workers’ compensation system and needs more help than the insurance companies, who have lawyers on call for any questions.”  - Lorriane B. D’Angelo, Esq.LBD

 

Click here to read the full press release and interview with Ms. D’Angelo.

 

If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.

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