Annual Idaho State Bar Workers Compensation Seminar
I spoke at the Annual Idaho State Bar Workers Compensation Seminar last week. I saw Workers’ compensation insurance adjusters, Idaho Industrial Commission referees and employees, attorneys representing Idaho’s injured workers, lawyers representing the insurance industry, and more at the training. A full day of training reaffirmed that Idaho Work Comp Is Complex!
Attorneys, insurance adjusters, and Industrial Commission employees all know Idaho’s work comp system is complicated. Idaho’s injured workers are the only people in Idaho’s workers’ compensation system that don’t receive training and education.
If you have been hurt at work in Idaho, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you through Idaho’s complex workers’ compensation system. For a free case review, contact me, Michael Kessinger, at Goicoechea Law Offices in Lewiston at 208.743.2313 or click here.
In Idaho, Insurance Companies Pick An IME Doctor
A complaint our attorneys hear often is: “The insurance company picked the doctor. It’s not fair.” It is common knowledge that Idaho work comp insurance companies repeatedly use the same doctors to examine injured workers. Referred to by the insurance company as “independent medical evaluators” or IME doctors, these doctors consistently give opinions that result in denied claims and lost work comp benefits.
Idaho Law allows insurance companies to pick a doctor to examine an injured worker. Idaho Code 72-433 requires injured workers to submit to examination with a doctor selected by the insurance company or lose workers’ comp benefits.
It is understandable why injured employees find this process unfair. After all, the insurance company doctor often disagrees with the recommendations of an injured worker’s treating physician.
The consequences of an insurance medical examination (referred to as an “independent medical examination” or “IME” by the insurance company) can be catastrophic for injured workers. The insurance company often terminates the income benefits that the injured worker is relying on to survive. What is more, Idaho workers’ compensation insurance companies regularly terminate medical benefits following an IME. This leaves an injured worker without income and without hope that they can medically recover from a work injury.
This Woman Lost 10 Years Battling a System Where Insurers Call the Shots documents the struggles insurance medical evaluators create for Hawaii’s injured workers. The system the article documents are very similar to the predicament Idaho’s injured workers face as a result of insurance medical evaluations.
Can An Idaho Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help?
If you have been hurt at work and sent to an insurance medical evaluation, you probably don’t like what the insurance doctor had to say. Our attorneys work against the work comp insurance companies’ hired guns on a daily basis. Contact our work comp attorneys to see if we can help you.
It’s Not Just Idaho
As attorneys representing Idaho’s injured workers, we often hear about how unfair Idaho’s Workers’ Compensation system can be. Having handled countless workers compensation claims, our Idaho work comp attorneys have seen unreasonable denials and frustrating delays in workers’ compensation cases.
But, we’re not alone in Idaho. Injured workers in other states face many of the same obstacles encountered by workers’ compensation claimants in Idaho. Honolulu Civil Beat recently investigated the Hawaii workers’ comp system and reported:
“Hawaii’s workers’ comp system forces many injured workers with long-lasting or complex injuries to battle insurance companies and their hand-picked doctors to get treatment and disability payments.” (Read the rest of the article here)
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company Doctors
The hand-pick doctors discussed in the article above are referred to as independent medical examiners, or IME doctors as the insurance adjusters like to call them, in Idaho. IME doctors generally give opinions that hurt the injured worker and help the insurance company’s bottom line. At Goiocoechea Law Offices, LLP, we are experienced at disputing insurance company doctors.
Has Your Idaho Workers’ Compensation Claim Been Denied?
Our attorneys have been battling workers’ compensation insurance companies in Idaho for decades. We handle cases against work comp insurance companies like the Idaho State Insurance Fund, Liberty Northwest Insurance, Workers Compensation Exchange, Associated Loggers Exchange, the Industrial Special Indemnity Fund, and more.
If you have been hurt at work and need help, contact our experienced work comp lawyers to help you navigate Idaho’s complex legal system. We represent injured workers from the date of the accident until your case is concluded. Contact Goicoechea Law Offices for help now.
With winter here in North Idaho and Eastern Washington, we all need to be extra careful on the roads. Snow, ice, and frost cause countless accidents in Idaho and Washington every winter.
Safe Winter Driving
The Idaho State Police and the Washington State Department of Transportation have both prepared tips on winter driving to help you travel safely and avoid personal injuries in a car crash:
Have You Been Injured In A Car Wreck?
Safe winter driving decreases the likelihood of a car accident and personal injury. As those who live in Idaho and Washington know, however, winter car wrecks happen. If you are injured in a car crash in Idaho or Washington, contact our experienced attorneys to learn about your rights.
Waiting for a Social Security Hearing? Be Prepared to Wait
Let’s face it – Social Security hearing wait times are long! Following the initial denial, the claimant files a Request for Reconsideration. After Social Security denies the reconsideration application , the claimant requests a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
For someone who lives in North Idaho, expect to wait over a year for your hearing. Residents of North Idaho and Eastern Washington have their Social Security hearings at the Spokane Office of Hearing Operations in Spokane, Washington. The current wait time for a hearing in Spokane, according the the Social Security Administration’s statistics is 14 months. https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html
If you live in Lewiston, Moscow, Orofino, Grangeville, Kamiah, Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, or anywhere else in North Idaho and have been denied Social Security disability, contact Goicoechea Law Offices for a free case review. Our disability attorneys may be able to help you get your Social Security claim approved.
Idaho Work Injuries and Opioid Use
Nationwide there is a discussion about prescribing opioids to treat work injuries. Significant work injuries often cause serious pain. Generally, knee injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, etc., that result in surgery also result in prescription medications. Chronic pain also commonly accompanies catastrophic work injuries and is treated with prescription pain killers.
Along with prescription medications come the risks of side effects, addiction, abuse, and overuse. The Idaho Industrial Commission and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy will be discussing opioids as they relate to work injuries on December 5, 2017, at 2 p.m. in Boise.
See the Idaho Industrial Commission flyer for more details.
If you have been hurt at work, contact our experienced attorneys for help at 208.743.2313.
Social Security Delays
Social Security applications are usually followed by a long delay, then a denial. The delay and the potential financial ruin brought on by a Social Security Disability denial are too familiar to the disabled people our attorneys represent. The Star-Telegram ran an informative, but depressing, Social Security Disability article:
Forced Arbitration in Idaho Cases Is Unjust
Mandatory arbitration can be devastating. It effectively takes an individual’s right to trial by jury. Jim Jones, a former Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court recently shed some light on why forced arbitration is unjust. Read his article in Idaho Politics Weekly: http://idahopoliticsweekly.com/politics/1638-guest-opinion-forced-arbitration-is-unjust
Dear Goicoechea Law Offices:
I know everyone gets warm and fuzzy when you win, but considering the forces you deal with even what’s right can go wrong. I am truly grateful for the candid, honest manner in handling my two cases. You did a wonderful job in front of the judge at my appeal hearing.
Many businesses these days do not give their full effort or do not know how to. When you are so professional at your job that you inspire others around you to try harder, it makes you among the “few”. I have enjoyed the professionalism in your office. Erica, Bailee and everyone of the others I have had the pleasure of meeting there have been beyond common in treating your customer with courtesy.
Thank you for your protection against some despicable foes. I don’t know how you and your staff can deal with these folks everyday. My pain hasn’t gone away, but the money makes me feel better about it.
Sincerely your friend,
My employer told me I was not entitled to anymore workers compensation benefits. Without Michael and his staff’s help, I wouldn’t have anything to show for my years of dedication and my significant work injury. I am very grateful for everyone’s hard work at Goicoechea Law Offices in Lewiston. I would strongly recommend them to anyone in need of assistance.