What is a Chronic Pain Management Program?

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When I was 8 years old, my father hurt his back.  He had herniated discs at two different levels.  He declined surgery and chose to treat his injury with physical therapy and traction.

After a year he was still dealing with a lot of radicular pain and stiffness.  In one of the programs, they tried to help him understand the psychological component of his injury.  He misunderstood and felt they were telling him that the pain was in his head.  He didn’t understand whenever a person undergoes a significant injury, there is a psychological component that also needs to be addressed.  They were trying to help him to better cope with the pain.  With the help of the program, he was able to return to work until he retired at the age of 78.

multidisciplinary studies of adults sustaining moderate to severe injuries found that injury-related mental distress on the subtle outcomes of patient productivity, general health, and satisfaction affect functional outcomes.  Multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Management (CPM) Programs coordinate the physical and psychological recover to allow for a quicker and more complete recovery of the injured worker. Like many programs, the more the injured worker puts into the program, the more they will likely get out of it.

There is no miracle cure that will take all of a person’s pain away.  However, CPM Programs give the injured worker tools to help them cope with their injury and how to properly use their body to avoid further injury.  This gives a greater chance that they will be able to return to gainful employment.

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Texas Workers’ Comp, Who is My Employer?

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Employment in the last 20 years has changed greatly.  In the past you finished school, found a job and then worked until you retired at the age of 65.  In today’s market, employees are laid off with every down turn of the economy.  Others have jobs where they are permanently employed through a temporary service or are called independent contractors.

When an injury occurs at work, who is your employer?  Most modern companies are actually a number of companies handling different aspects of the business.  The first thing to do is to look at your pay stub.  Most will have the name of the payer.  This is a good start on establishing the actual name of your employer.

The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation defines employer as a person who makes a contract of hire, employs one or more employees, and has workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  However, when there are multiple potential employers, you may run into problems that some are subscribers to the Texas Workers’ Compensation system and some are not.  Finally, the law defines an independent contractor not just your employer calling you one.

Temporary Service:

Many workers are now employed by Temp Services.  If you work for a temp service, file the claim against them.  If you find out that they are a non-subscriber to Texas Workers’ Compensation (they have an alternative form of insurance), you can possibly file a claim against the company that the temp service sent you to.

When deciding which company is liable for your claim, the Division of Workers’ Compensation will look at who had the right of control over the employee’s activities.  The Borrowed Servant Doctrine is when you work for one employer, but get injured while under the control of another of another company.  This will allow you to receive benefits from the employer controlling your activities.

Independent Contractor:

In general an independent contractor is not an employee.  However, the determination is not made by the employer.  The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation will determine if the employer had a right to control the details of the work performed.

To be considered an independent contractor, it must be shown that the person:

1)  acts as the employer of any employee of the contractor by paying wages, directing activities, and performing other similar functions characteristic of an employer-employee relationship;

2)  is free to determine the manner in which the work or service is performed, including the hours of labor of or method of payment to any employee;

3)  is required to furnish or to have employees, if any, furnish necessary tools, supplies, or materials to perform the work or service;  and

4)  possesses the skills required for the specific work or service.

The IW has the burden of proof to establish that he/she was an employee of the employer for purposes of the Act at the time the injury occurred.  However, you should always use an attorney familiar with workers’ compensation issues.  If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation contact, call the Dallas office of The Morris Law Firm at (214)357-1782 or via email at info@themorrisfirm.net.