Truth is stranger than fiction

April Fool’s Day blog post has some basis in reality for people on workers comp.

Yesterday was our annual April Fool’s Day blog post. It took a humorous look at how insurance companies can save money at our client’s expense.

Many of the items suggested were ridiculous but each had some grain of truth. We think satire is a great way to inform and educate.

We see it all as workers comp lawyers. Here is the inspiration for our tongue-in-cheek list of money saving ideas.

Automated phone system to replace customer service

Nothing is more frustrating than when a claims adjuster won’t return telephone calls. This becomes a serious problem when medical care is not being authorized. Missing wage loss checks can also be devastating for individuals living paycheck-to-paycheck. It is simply inexcusable to ignore people during one of the most challenging periods in their lives. Automated phone system hell is real!

IME performed by trained monkey

Insurance companies use the same medical groups over and over again. Many of these doctors make a career out of testifying for insurance companies and earn hundreds of thousands per year. Our clients report these examinations takes no more than 10-15 minutes and disability is almost always disputed.

Mother-in-law is only family member who gets reimbursed for attendant care

Insurance companies never tell you about all available workers comp benefits. Family members can receive payment up to 56 hours per week for helping with activities of daily living. A spouse, brother, sister, child, parent or any combination of these individuals can receive payment. A family member is generally entitled to the same hourly rate as a professional.

Surveillance extends to bedroom

Insurance companies routinely hire professional investigators to follow claimants. This includes taking movies of activities and even talking with neighbors. Looking through windows is another common tactic. We have seen some claims adjusters make snap decisions based upon items posted on Facebook.

DNA sample required before payment

Getting the insurance company to start wage loss benefits is no easy task. Many people are forced to sign a blank authorization so the insurance company can review entire medical history. Recorded telephone interviews are very common. Sometimes the insurance company just wants to perform an “alive and well check.”

Slave labor included in wage earning capacity analysis

Insurance companies can stop the payment of lost wages if a person has a “wage earning capacity.” This is the amount of money a person could theoretically earn in another job. Vocational experts are hired to determine employability and perform labor market surveys. Many of these positions are outside qualifications and training. Some jobs don’t even exist or the rate of pay is exaggerated.

Death panels decide

Evidence based medicine (EBM) has been slowly creeping into Michigan. This was recently seen with the introduction of new opioid rules. EBM is the proverbial “death panel.” Bureaucrats in Lansing will be making medical decisions. Physicians have to fight enormous bureaucracy just to prescribe a common pain medication.

Trial by combat

The burden of proof has become so difficult in Michigan that many individuals have little recourse in workers comp. This is especially true when individuals have preexisting degenerative arthritis. Trial by combat might actually be more fair.

Chinese factory runs vocational rehabilitation program

Disputes often arise as to what vocational rehabilitation is needed. A person may want to go to college and start a new career. The insurance company just wants them to accept any job so that lost wages are stopped.

Settlements paid in gift cards

Insurance companies make small settlement offers to close files. This is done because most people are in financial distress and need the money. Higher settlement amounts are paid to individuals who hire attorneys and know their legal rights.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

Injured On The Job: A Guide to Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law (Free Book)

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by qisur.

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