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! Protesters1
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!judge and lawyer in court

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.22880-injured-worker-helping

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.

What is an IME – It’s not a second opinion!

August 7, 2015 by · Comments Off
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My office often gets panicked phone calls because an injured worker received a notice in the mail of an IME (Independent Medical Exam) and they are very confused about what is going on. The insurance company is allowed to order an IME (or 2 or even 3) for several different reasons but basically, an IME is in exam by an independent medical doctor. The insurance company wants to see if a new doctor will agree with the action or course of treatment the WC doctor is recommending or to see if the IME doctor believes the injured worker’s recovery is on track.

Here’s the catch – the IME doctor will evaluate you (and hopefully all of your medical records and/or diagnostic reports) and write a report that is sent to the insurance company. The insurance company will review the report and then may approve or deny something (testing, exams, injections, surgery, return to work status and so on) based on this report. The IME doctor merely evaluated you, he/she is not treating you and has not followed Cartoon doctor 2your treatment and progress like your workers comp treating physician has. Sometimes, insurance companies can be really sneaky about the IME and tell injured workers that based on the IME report ____________ (they can go back to work, they don’t need surgery and so on) when the injured workers’ doctor says otherwise – this can be a problem and will likely require an attorney to step in.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately! This system can be ridged and you need to make sure this situation is handled properly.

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

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

THE IWLF Process – helping injured workers help themselves

July 31, 2015 by · Comments Off
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I have been representing injured workers for a number of years now and I know all too well the financial strain this process can put on families. I have made the conscious decision to help empower those hurt on the job buy supplying them with knowledge. I have designed my office to be different than most attorney’s offices because I don’t want to be just a lawyer – I want to help the hardworking folks in my community and be a positive force in our legal system.bookcoverfront

I constantly give away free information (like my book) to injured workers in hopes of helping them understand the rules and regulations that govern the workers comp system that they are now dealing with. If I can help folks to get things on track so that they don’t need an attorney, then great, this will help them by keeping as much money in their pocket as possible! Obviously, if there comes a point where legal expertise is needed then I am here to help!

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

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

The doctor ordered a Functional Capacity Exam (FCE) but I need more treatment. Should I go to the exam?

July 24, 2015 by · Comments Off
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This is a confusing thing for injured workers – The answer is YES!!! You absolutely should go. The Functional Capacity Exam (FCE for short) is an exam that measures the extent of your disabilities stemming from the work injury. This measures your new level of ability if you have lasting limitations as a result of the work injury. This does not mean that you are done seeing the doctor nor does it mean that your case if over, it simply means that you have reached a point where the doctor believes it is appropriate for you to have for level of physical ability measured. This is also the time that, if necessary, the medical examiner can give you a rating on your loss of use (also called Permanent Partial Disability or PPD).doctor reading Film

As a side note, one other BIG reason you should go to the exam is, if the insurance carrier is going to cover the cost of the exam and you refuse to go, they could claim that you are not cooperating with the doctor’s treatment plan and stop you benefits! – Trust me folks, you don’t want to be in that situation!

If you are facing an FCE and you are not sure what to expect, my office has a lot of helpful information on this that we would be happy to pass on to you at no charge; 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.

What is an “Intake Paralegal” and why do I need to speak to her?

July 17, 2015 by · Comments Off
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Sometimes folks get a little frustrated when they call an attorney’s office and can’t speak to the attorney right away so I wanted to let you all in on the inner workings of my office and how my IWLF team operates!

I have an Intake Paralegal, Sheena, who is specially trained to help folks who are dealing with the workers’ compensation system and may be looking for some general information, or may even be wondering if they need an attorney to help them. Everyone in my office has a highly specialized set of tasks they preform and Sheena is typically going to be one of the very first people you come into contact with when dealing with the Injured Workers’ Law Firm. Sheena’s role is to get all of the information from you and get it to me in a specialized format, she does this to stream-line your communication with my office and keep you informed and offer you help even when I’m not available.Call Center Girl

I do this for everyone’s benefit as I run a busy practice and I can sometimes be out of the office for a day, or even several days at a time attending hearings, depositions, mediations and sometimes I have several previously scheduled appointments set up and it may take some time for me to respond to messages, emails and phone calls. As my Intake Paralegal, Sheena will help you better understand what is going on with your situation and shed some light on the things the insurance carrier may not be telling you. She can also help you to identify “turning points” in your case; instances that might call for legal representation where you maybe did not need an attorney before. Sheena has a direct line of communication with me and will ensure your issues are addressed. She will not give you legal advice because she is not an attorney, but she can give you tons of helpful information to get things moving.

The other great benefit of injured workers’ talking to my Intake Paralegal – she tracks EVERYTHING! Whenever you call and talk to Sheena, she takes detailed notes and gives me updates on the changes in your claim so, if the time should come that you do need to hire my office, I have a detailed accounting of what has taken place and my staff and I can “hit the ground running” because we have all the history of what has lead you to this point!

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

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

Is the Adjuster ignoring your phone calls – try email!

July 10, 2015 by · Comments Off
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One of the biggest gripes injured workers have is that they can never get ahold of their Adjuster and days or weeks go by with no response. We here at IWLF know all about this, Adjusters are hard to get a hold of for a reason – maybe they have too many files to keep up with or – maybe they are just playing “hard to get”. Either way, injured workers need to be informed about what is happening with their claim.

If you call and call and leave message after message for your Adjuster and are not getting anywhere, try email. At my office, we LOVE email because it leaves that “paper trail” that the court system lives by! If you send emails to your Adjuster and still don’t get any happy computercommunication, send these to the Commission and let them know – now you have paperwork to show them how you’ve tried communicating with the Adjuster! Once you get the Commission involved, the Adjuster is going to have to respond!

If you do not have an attorney, you are free to communicate with the Adjuster on your own, if you are represented by an attorney, you should ask your representative before doing this – at IWLF we do this for our Clients so they don’t have to deal with this sometimes frustrating part of the WC system.

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

~Author

Michele Lewane, Esq.

VWC is going paperless as of 6/26/15

July 3, 2015 by · Comments Off
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The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWC) is switching to an all paperless system as of 6/26/15. For those of you who use the WebFile feature on their website, this should be a very smooth transition for you. If you are not familiar with WebFile, it’s a portal on the VWC website (http://vwc.state.va.us/) that lets you access your file with the Commission online. It’s a wonderful tool that will allow you to check in on the progress of your case and view, print or upload any documents associated with your claim.Typing on keyboard

My office is super excited for the Commission to introduce these new upgrades!

If you would like more information about the workers’ compensation system or the WebFile tools on the VWC website contact my office at (804) 755-7755, or order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link.

~Author
Michele Lewane, Esq.

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