Work Comp Lawyer Proved Employer Had Every Reasonable Opportunity To Get Information

A work comp lawyer knows how an injured worker may need to borrow money or have help from family during their injury. In the following case, an employer tried to use these sources of money to wrongly stop benefits payments…and the employee’s workers comp lawyer successfully stopped the employer from misinterpreting these deposits into the employee’s savings account. The hearing officer in the case agreed with the workers comp lawyer, and made a finding that the injured worker was entitled to supplemental income benefits (or SIB’s) even though he did have some additional money (loans from his parents), and also a little self-employment. The insurance company appealed this decision, claiming to have gotten evidence to prove their argument… “after” the hearing was over, stressed the workers comp lawyer. The injured employee’s work comp lawyer then successfully defeated the insurer’s arguments.

The work comp lawyer answered the insurer, saying the hearing officer correctly decided the injured worker was entitled to SIBs. The insurer’s real argument was that the injured worker “could have worked more,” and claimed he didn’t make a good faith effort to get work, based on these “extra” deposits. But the work comp lawyer stressed very detailed medical findings of a serious disability.

Besides, the work comp lawyer noted how the hearing officer was the most important judge of the evidence. The hearing officer heard all the evidence from the lawyer and from the employee himself, as he told the work comp lawyer about the injury and his job search. As the trier of fact, the hearing officer clearly agreed with the work comp lawyer about the strength of the medical evidence. Based on evidence presented the hearing officer reasonably decided the injured worker (a) was not required to get additional employment, once the work comp lawyer proved employment at a part-time job and (b) was being self-employed, consistent with his ability to work.

Work Comp Lawyer: A Serious Injury With Lasting Effects

The insurance company also argued the injured worker’s underemployment during the qualifying period wasn’t caused by his impairment. The work comp lawyer noted the injured worker’s underemployment was also a direct result of the impairment. This was backed up by evidence from the work comp lawyer that this injured employee had a very serious injury, with lasting effects, and just “could not reasonably do the type of work he’d done right before his injury.” In this case, the lawyer showed that the injured worker’s injury resulted in a permanent impairment. The employer didn’t prove (or disprove) anything specific about the extent of the injury, but only suggested “possibilities.”

For example, the lawyer said the insurance company emphasized “evidence” obtained after the hearing. Yet the insurance company said this came from a deposition taken three days before the hearing. At that time, the work comp lawyer pressed, it learned that the injured worker had a personal bank account for depositing wages. The insurance company subpoenaed copies of the injured worker’s deposit slips, and got the records after the hearing from the work comp lawyer. The insurance company argued that the deposit slips “proved” that the injured worker earned more than 80% of his pre-injury wages. But the lawyer stressed how the insurer should have worked harder to prove this argument before the hearing.

Specifically, the lawyer pointed out that documents submitted for the first time (on appeal) are generally not accepted…unless they are newly discovered evidence, noted the work comp lawyer. The evidence offered by the insurance company wasn’t newly discovered evidence. The injured worker testified to his work comp lawyer that the deposits included wages from his self-employment and “money I borrowed from my mother.” Though the insurance company had known about the evidence, it made no request to get the evidence, emphasized the work comp lawyer. The Appeals Panel agreed with the work comp lawyer and “refused” to consider the ‘evidence’ attached to the insurance company’s appeal. The lawyer had completely defended the worker’s award.

There’s often uncertainty about how long an injury may last, an experienced work comp lawyer knows. In this case, talking with an experienced work comp lawyer helped deal with issues from this uncertainty. For anyone who survives a period of injury, through self-employment or family loans, it’s important to discuss these matters as soon as possible with a knowledgeable work comp lawyer.