How long can I receive TTD benefits?

When you’re unable to work because of a Vermont work injury, one benefit you’re entitled to receive is weekly temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits are considered “wage replacement” benefits, in that you’re paid 2/3 of the gross (pre-tax) average weekly wages you were earning before your injury. Unfortunately, unless you’re permanently and totally… Read more »

Is workers’ comp allowed to conduct surveillance?

If you have a Vermont workers’ compensation claim and are currently missing work as a result, there is some chance the insurance company will hire a private investigator to conduct surveillance of your activities. There are a couple of scenarios in which the insurance company is most likely to order surveillance, but they could do… Read more »

What if my employer doesn’t have WC insurance?

Vermont law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation for their employees, but not all employers do. This can cause a lot of problems for the employer, including subjecting them to financial penalties and stop-work orders when the Vermont Department of Labor finds out. It can also cause even bigger problems for an employee who… Read more »

What are TTD Benefits?

An earlier version of this post was published on February 4, 2015. When you’re injured at work in Vermont, the law entitles you to a number of different workers’ compensation benefits depending on your injury and how well you recover from it. Your Vermont workers’ comp benefits may include “indemnity” benefits like temporary and permanent… Read more »

Do I need a Vermont workers comp lawyer?

An earlier version of this post was published on February 24, 2014. A very common question for Vermonters who’ve been injured at work is whether they need a lawyer.  I’ve talked to several people who say “if someone needs an attorney for their workers comp claim, it must be really bad.”  The truth is, a Vermont workers… Read more »

Can Social Media Jeopardize my Vermont Workers’ Comp Claim?

When a person misses work for a prolonged period of time due to a Vermont work injury, the insurance company and sometimes the employer may begin getting suspicious that the injured worker is milking their injury or is not as hurt as they claim. When that happens, they often hire a private investigator to conduct… Read more »

What psychological work injuries are covered in Vermont?

The Vermont legislature recently modified the way that psychological injuries (a.k.a. mental-mental injuries) are covered under Vermont workers’ comp law.  With the exception of psychological injuries arising from a physical injury (a.k.a. physical-mental injuries), psychological injuries arising purely from a person’s work used to be covered only if they arose out of an event or stressor which… Read more »

When should I hire a Vermont workers’ comp lawyer?

A lot of people with a Vermont work injury assume they can handle their workers’ compensation claim themselves, and that they don’t need a Vermont workers’ comp lawyer.  As I discussed in a previous post, it’s certainly true that there are workers’ compensation claims in which you might not need a lawyer.  If you are going… Read more »

What can happen if I don’t hire a workers’ comp lawyer?

In the past few months several people have come to me who had no idea they weren’t receiving workers’ comp benefits they were entitled to.  When a person is injured at work and the insurance company begins adjusting the claim, it’s easy to assume the insurance company is doing what it is required to do.  Unfortunately, insurance… Read more »

Is an “unexplained” fall covered by workers’ comp?

Jeff Dickson and Dickson Law Office recently won an important decision from a Vermont Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge, who held that an injured worker who experiences an “unexplained” fall at work is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  In the case, Jeff’s client suffered an unwitnessed fall from a standing position, striking her head and sustaining a traumatic brain… Read more »

Why won’t the insurance company “preauthorize” my surgery?

When you’ve been injured in Vermont and have filed a workers’ comp claim, there may come a time when your doctor wants to perform surgery, an injection, or some other relatively expensive treatment that requires the insurance company to “preauthorize” that treatment.  Although Vermont law doesn’t require your doctor’s office to request preauthorization, most doctors’ offices request preauthorization from… Read more »

If someone dies at work, do they get workers’ comp?

When a person dies at work in Vermont, it is tragic for everyone involved: the worker, of course, but also his or her family, coworkers, and even employer.  Deaths at work used to be much more common in the early-20th century, leading the Federal Government to enact OSHA and the Vermont Legislature to enact the… Read more »

Can I switch doctors from the one my employer chose?

Many times when a person sustains a Vermont work injury, the employer will send an injured worker to a specific doctor’s office for treatment.  This is permitted by the Vermont workers’ compensation rules, which state that “[a]n employer may designate the treating health care provider to initially treat an injured employee immediately following a compensable injury.”… Read more »

Can I leave my job while receiving workers’ comp?

One question I’m occasionally asked by current and potential clients is what happens if they leave their job while receiving Vermont workers’ comp benefits.  Although it’s unlikely that your medical benefits will be terminated if you leave your job, whether your TTD benefits are affected depends on why your employment ended. If you have recovered well… Read more »

Am I entitled to permanent total disability benefits in Vermont?

Most people with a Vermont workers’ comp claim eventually recover from their injuries and return to work, but those who do not may be entitled to permanent total disability (“PTD”) benefits.  The question, however, is when you know if you are permanently and totally disabled, and how you prove it to your employer’s insurance carrier and… Read more »

What happens at a Vermont workers’ comp mediation?

Once the Vermont Department of Labor has conducted an “informal conference” and a “pretrial conference” in your workers’ comp claim, but before you can proceed to a formal hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will typically require you (the injured employee) and the insurance company to attend mediation.  Mediation is an opportunity for you to negotiate with the insurance company… Read more »

Should I settle my Vermont workers’ comp claim?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, at some point in time your employer’s insurance carrier may offer to settle your Vermont workers’ comp claim.  While this occasionally happens in situations in which your claim has been denied — such as at mediation prior to a formal hearing — it is more likely to happen when your claim… Read more »

What happens if I’m injured while driving to work in Vermont?

Because Vermont is a rural state, it is not uncommon for employees to commute an hour or more to get to work everyday.  Unfortunately, spending so much time in the car simply increases the likelihood that at some point, you will be involved in a car accident while driving to work or driving home.  Especially… Read more »

How does FMLA relate to workers’ compensation in Vermont?

Recently I’ve had a couple of Vermont workers’ compensation clients ask me how the FMLA relates to their Vermont workers’ compensation claim.  The simplest answer I can give them?  It really doesn’t. Let’s say you suffer a pretty serious knee injury at work and are taken out of work by your doctor.  If at the… Read more »

How can I mess up my Vermont workers’ compensation claim?

Throughout the life of an accepted Vermont workers’ compensation claim, the insurance carrier will be looking for ways to cease paying workers’ comp benefits to you, the injured employee.  Sometimes, the insurer simply wants to get you to maximum medical improvement and back to work as quickly as possible, so it can stop paying you… Read more »

Will Social Security affect my workers’ compensation claim?

Although never anyone’s objective when they’re injured, it is not entirely uncommon for a Vermont work injury to result in an inability to return to work.  Sometimes, even if the work injury isn’t preventing you from working, a different physical or emotional condition leads to that result.  Regardless of whether you make a claim for… Read more »

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

As an injured employee progresses through his or her Vermont workers’ compensation claim, it is not at all uncommon for the insurance company or their attorney to schedule you for an Independent Medical Examination (a.k.a. an “IME”).  If you’ve never had a workers’ comp injury or filed a lawsuit for other injuries, you’ve probably never… Read more »

What does the workers’ compensation process entail?

After you experience a Vermont work injury, the workers’ compensation process can vary significantly depending on the nature of your injury and the insurance company’s response (i.e. whether it agrees your injury happened at work).  If your work injury is not simply accepted and paid for by the insurance company from start to finish, you… Read more »

Will a preexisting condition impact my Vermont workers comp claim?

Many Vermonters who have experienced a work injury wonder whether a “preexisting condition” will prevent them from receiving Vermont workers comp benefits, even though their new work injury worsened their symptoms. As with many questions you can ask a lawyer, the best answer is “it depends.”  Fortunately, however, the mere fact that you may have… Read more »

What should I do if I’m injured at work?

It’s not uncommon for someone who experiences a Vermont work injury to be unsure of what to do after that injury occurs.  Maybe it was a pretty small injury, and you don’t want to bother your supervisor or HR person by reporting something you expect will resolve on its own.  Maybe your company has a… Read more »

What injuries does Vermont workers compensation cover?

In Vermont, if you suffer an “injury” at work, it is covered by the Vermont Workers’ Compensation Act.  But what does the word “injury” really include?  Is it only the obvious injuries like broken legs, busted shoulders, and concussions?  Am I excluded if I have a mental injury from work?  No.  In fact, the Vermont workers… Read more »

What am I entitled to after my Vermont work injury? (PPD)

As I mentioned in my last post, you’re entitled to receive temporary disability benefits until you reach “maximum medical improvement” or you actually return to work, whichever occurs first.  When that happens, the insurance carrier will stop paying you weekly temporary disability benefits.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re off the hook for paying indemnity benefits…. Read more »

What am I entitled to after my Vermont work injury? (TTD)

When you’ve suffered a Vermont work injury, the law entitles you to a number of different workers’ compensation benefits depending on your injury and how well you recover from it.  Vermont work comp benefits which you may be entitled to include “indemnity” benefits like temporary and permanent disability benefits, as well as medical benefits and… Read more »

Who does Vermont work comp benefit?

The Vermont work comp system benefits employees to some extent, and employers to some extent, while also leaving both parties something to complain about.  The Vermont work comp system helps you, the employee, because it ensures that if you experienced a Vermont work injury (or were injured working for a Vermont employer out-of-state), then you… Read more »

Who can I sue for my Vermont work injury?

A lot of people wonder why, when they’re injured while working in Vermont (or for a Vermont employer), they are stuck filing their claim with the Vermont Department of Labor instead being able to sue their employer for damages relating to their work injury.  It’s true, filing a claim with the Department of Labor is… Read more »