The Advanced Workers’ Compensation seminar was held this month. I presented the administrative Appeals Panel Update along with Paul Stone of Flahive, Ogden & Latson. In presenting the appeals that were handled over the last year, it is clear that the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation is now focusing on finality of Maximum Medical Improvement and the Impairment Rating.
We got to hear from many of the best attorneys from both sides of the bar regarding workers compensation. There were many excellent presentations updating the area of practice. The Workers’ Compensation Section of the Texas State Bar held their annual meeting, where I was honored to be selected as the claimant’s representative chairman.
Excommissioner Boarderline spoke regarding how the position of the agency. He announced that fewer claims are being filed, medical expenses have been drastically reduced and that injured workers’ lost time is down. He asked us not to put to much into the numbers presented by at the last conference which indicated that it is becoming extremely difficult for the injured workers to prevail on disputes handled at the Division. He stated numerous times that there is not a “hidden agenda” against the injured worker.
Unfortunately, I believe that Mr. Boarderline misunderstands what workers gave up on 1991, when they lost there constitutional right to sue for damages. The system was to be simplified so injured workers could receive benefits and medical care without the need to meet heightened legal standards. The process is now handled very quickly. But, with health care networks limiting access to doctors and increased causation standards, the injured worker ends up on governmental assistance instead of assistance from their private insurance policy.
The seminar emphasized the need for workers to participate in the politics of our state and to not allow insurance carriers to control the the agencies over them. Now more than ever, injured workers to seek out legal counsel to assist in pursuing their claims.
Daniel L Morris, The Morris Law Firm, firstname.lastname@example.org (214)357-1782