Monday, August 06, 2007

Can you return to work or are you totally disabled?

Often a person may not be able to return to his usual trade or occupation. This can occur because of restrictions or complications from the work injury as set forth by a doctor. Sometimes a person may have worked for many years and really enjoyed his trade but now is not sure what he can do. If you are only permanently and partially disabled or restricted you may receive compensation but not anything else. What then? Does the insurer have to retrain or put you into voc rehab? Not usually and you may wish to contact the state Vocational Rehabilitation office. There is an earlier blog post on this which I posted. But then if you think it is unfair and seek permanent total benefits (which can be substantial) it is your burden to prove it. Your attorney can apply for a hearing and line up his witnesses and evidence. He may also discuss a settlement. However if it goes to a hearing what will the other side say when you try to show you cannot work at all? Well, the other side can seek to show through its witnesses or evidence that you can work, even if just part time. Believe it or not if they show this and the Judge accepts it then you cannot get further benefits beyond what is allowed by an admission or the Judge. Just thinking it is unfair and no Judge would do this is a mistake. You must be ready to prove your viewpoint if it goes to a hearing. It is a true legal battle with high stakes. Here is a sample of some of the jobs that may be asserted through evidence you can do part time: "The claimant can work as a ticket seller, hotel desk clerk, restaurant host, pizza deliverer, customer service clerk, cashier, automobile salesperson, and sales clerk." This list does not end can go on and on to include working at home! Decent pay comparable to your trade is not a legal consideration. This means it can be difficult to establish you can no longer work. Hard as it may seem it is quite possible to show this but it requires a solid effort. In this area your attorney may do the most good for you. There is caselaw to consider. There is vocational evidence to obtain. There may be further medical evidence to develop. Much can be done here so blindly accepting the insurance viewpoint is not wise.

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