Archives for August 2014

What to watch out for when filing a workers’ compensation claim

Wharehouse worker with clipboardWe have represented workers’ compensation claimants for many years and have seen innocent mistakes by injured workers come back to haunt them later on. Here are some issues you should consider, and problems to avoid, when filing a workers’ compensation claim:

After a work-related injury, request medical attention and report the incident.

  • If your injury requires more than first aid, document your injury or it may be used against you later in your claim.
  • If you fail to get prompt, appropriate medical treatment, the claims adjuster or the defense lawyer will use this against you and argue that your injury is not work related or is minimal.

In the report, disclose everything the first time.

  • Be very thorough and disclose all injuries, whether they’re major or minor.
  • Failing to report a minor injury and only focusing on more serious ones
    • May result in a denial for claims covering minor injuries, or
    • What you think is a minor injury may actually be a major one. Its symptoms may only be clear later on.

Make a note of any witnesses to your accident and get written statements from them if possible. This can support your claim in case the insurance company tries to deny it.

Communicating with the workers’ compensation insurance company is a bad idea.

  • Though they may sound like they are, insurance adjusters are not your friends. You are dealing with trained professionals whose sole purpose is to protect the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company. They want to save money and pay you as little as possible.
  • An experienced adjuster or defense attorney can use statements made by injured workers against them.

Not filing a claim because no work was missed is a mistake.

  • Workers’ compensation benefits don’t just apply to time missed from work. These benefits include payment for medical services and prescription drugs. The insurance will likely also cover travel expenses related to getting to and from the doctor.

Be prepared to be watched, online and in public.

  • It’s become common practice for insurance adjustors to hire investigators to gather evidence concerning your activities to disprove that you are injured or prove your injury is not as serious as you claim.
  • They may monitor your movements and activities, even interview your neighbors. You may be video recorded while out in the public.
  • Any postings on social media, especially those describing what you are doing and where you are going, may end up on the investigator’s computer. They would like nothing more than to see pictures or videos posted showing you engaged in any kind of vigorous, strenuous activities.
  • It may only take about five seconds of video, a picture or a posting about your vacation to provide evidence contesting your claim.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, an ounce of prevention with a claim is worth a pound of benefits. If you have any questions about workers’ compensation, contact our office.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Attorney signing documentsA personal injury (or PI) attorney does many things, and we handle many PI cases. Although most cases follow similar procedural paths, a PI attorney’s day can be very different from one day to the next. The common theme for every day is doing the most you can to help your client reach his or her goals.


A PI attorney talks to many people who have questions about or are interested in filing a PI case. A PI attorney may talk to many people who, for one reason or another, do not have viable legal claims or have genuine legal claims against a party, but the potential damages or awards are so minimal that it wouldn’t justify filing a case.

If a PI attorney wants to take a case and the potential client signs a representation agreement, the PI attorney will contact the potential defendant or its insurance company and let them know of the representation and tell them not to contact the client; it’s now the attorney they need to talk to.


The PI attorney will learn as many facts as possible from the client, including who are potential witnesses and the nature and extent of any injuries. An investigation will start, and the lawyer will gather any relevant documents and speak to witnesses to learn as much as possible about the incident and the harm it did to the client.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, the PI attorney will often try to settle a case by contacting the defendant or its insurance company. If this is unsuccessful, a lawsuit will be filed in the appropriate court.


The PI attorney will also file discovery requests, seeking information and documents from the defendant. The defendant will probably file an answer to the complaint, may try to have the complaint dismissed on procedural grounds and will ask the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) to respond to its own discovery requests. Part of discovery is depositions, in which parties and witnesses are asked questions under oath by attorneys for both sides.

Either side may file motions concerning procedural issues relevant to the case. The attorneys will write responses and may argue in favor of their clients in front of a judge on these motions. If a lawsuit survives the motions filed by the defendant and discovery is complete, the case will be on track for a trial.


If the case hasn’t settled by now, there’s a very good chance it will before the trial starts. The defendant’s motions may have narrowed (but not eliminated) the plaintiff’s legal claims, and discovery has given both sides a good handle on the facts of the case, its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of witnesses. Given all this, and wanting to avoid spending the time, resources and expense of a trial, most times both the PI attorney and the defense attorney will have frank discussions with their clients behind closed doors until both sides come to an agreement.


If there is no settlement, there will be a trial. A jury may be picked or the judge may decide the case. Both sides present evidence, including witness testimony, supporting their side of events, and the attorneys do their best to poke holes in the other party’s case. If the lawsuit doesn’t settle during the trial, or there’s some serious procedural problem arising during the trial, both attorneys sum up the case to the fact finder (jury or judge) and a decision is made.

Every case, like every client, is unique. The PI attorney works to guide a case down its path to a conclusion. The PI attorney does his best to make sure the client has the best opportunity for a positive outcome, whether that’s a fair settlement or a decision at trial in the client’s favor.

If you have any questions about personal injury cases or want to talk about your particular situation, contact our office for a free consultation.

Setting Yourself Up for Success after Divorce

Police emergency light & conesWe represent spouses going through divorces and the many legal issues that may arise afterward. A divorce can be traumatic and a person may see it as an end to one phase of their life. But it’s also a new beginning, an opportunity to start over and make the most of the rest of your life.

An article on the WebMD website has some practical advice for those starting over after a divorce.

1. Seek Out a Support Network

There may not be a single strategy to ease the pain and loss that divorce brings. But leaning on a support network can be a critical strategy to help you start over.

This can help you emotionally, but also with practical issues. You may find yourself being a single parent for the first time. You want to be strong for your children, but trying to juggle a full-time job while being a full-time parent can be stressful and exhausting, especially if you have more than one child or if they are young or have special needs. You may want to seek out others in a similar situation, talk to your pediatrician, take advantage of school resources and get to know teachers and school administrators.

Hopefully your relationship with your ex-spouse is healthy enough so that he or she can be relied upon for help when necessary.

2. Redefine Yourself

Going through a divorce means no longer being part of a couple. This can be seen as a relief or frightening. Give yourself time to explore what you want and need in the future. Be constructive, not destructive, and take up new hobbies or activities and develop new interests to expand who you are. Doing something physical like exercise, gardening, biking or hiking may help you work off stress and meet new people.

3. Minimize the Impact on the Kids

While coping with the breakup of a marriage can be painful, that pain should be limited as much as possible for your children. Ex-spouses should try to make the new situation as positive as possible. Avoid criticizing the other parent in front of the children. Engaging in a “scorched earth” policy concerning your ex may result in younger children showing regressive behavior, like bed-wetting, and older children and teenagers can exhibit low self-esteem and engage in risky behavior.

Avoid pulling children into any ongoing conflict with an ex-spouse, so they can avoid having to take sides. Whatever short-term gain you might think you’ll get by enlisting your kids, you risk long-term relationship losses with your kids.

If after your divorce you or your children need professional help coping with the new, post-divorce reality, contact our office. We can refer you to qualified therapists who have helped many of our clients in the past.