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nh workers' compensation attorneys

Opiate Addiction Treatment for Injured Workers

Suffering Injuries on the Job

NH workers' compensation attorneysThe NH workers’ compensation attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law have represented hundreds of New Hampshire men and women who have been hurt at their place of work. Often these are highly skilled workers with years of experience. Their hard work has allowed them to earn a good living with the hope of someday enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

Suffering an injury at work, especially an injury requiring surgery and a long recovery period, can be financially devastating. When workers are injured during the course of their employment, they are entitled to compensation. The workers’ compensation system has been the law in New Hampshire for more than 100 years.

One of the essential benefits provided to injured workers is the entitlement to have reasonable, necessary, and related medical treatment paid for by the employer’s insurance carrier. During treatment and rehabilitation, workers experiencing significant pain may be prescribed painkillers, and often this means opiate-based medications.

Use of Opiates to Treat Pain

Even if a worker is taking this type of medication for the first time, the worker may develop an addiction to these very powerful drugs. The science of addiction is such that opiates can change a person’s brain chemistry, leading them to crave these medications. Tragically, some workers who have been injured and are treated with opiate painkillers develop an addiction and begin a downward spiral.

In recent years, New Hampshire has seen the deaths of hundreds of our citizens resulting from opiate overdoses. This has been the subject of national attention, and far too many individuals and families have experienced the tragedy of losing a loved one to the disease of addiction. To hold the manufacturers of these highly addictive drugs responsible, the New Hampshire Attorney General filed a lawsuit against an opiate manufacturer in August 2017. The charges include that the manufacturer “engaged in a long-running campaign of deception to create and sustain a market for its opioids.”

Resources Available for the Treatment of Addiction

The New Hampshire judicial branch has developed a Drug Court that links offenders to treatment facilities. Cities and towns are creating “safe houses” at fire stations, including in Manchester and Nashua. And organizations such as Hope for New Hampshire Recovery and many others are working tirelessly to help victims of addiction.

Fortunately, for injured workers who have developed an addiction to opiates prescribed to treat an injury, there is hope. Their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier can be held responsible for the cost of addiction rehabilitation in many circumstances. Injured workers who develop an opioid addiction should speak with an experienced attorney about their options for treatment and care. The earlier an attorney becomes involved, the more likely they will be able to assist the worker in getting the care needed.

Contact Experienced NH Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Workers are often worried about how they are going to pay for an attorney. Attorneys in the workers’ compensation system in New Hampshire are generally paid on a contingency fee basis (a percentage of any future recovery). They may alternatively be paid by the insurance company after a successful hearing. Thus, in most cases, workers do not need to pay any fees up-front.

At Manning & Zimmerman Law, we are proud to fight for the rights of workers who have suffered workplace injuries. It is essential that you have experienced legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too! For a free consultation with our NH workers’ compensation attorneys, call (603) 624-7200 or send us an email to info@MZLawNH.com.

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Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

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Economic swings are common in capitalist economies, often thought of simply as “good times” and “bad times.” Sometimes, however, we experience extreme swings, from the Great Depression of the 1930s on the low end, to the “DotCom” and housing boom covering the years from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s on the high end.

Each of these economic events were followed by swings in the opposite direction; America’s entry into the Second World War led to a wartime economy and the end of the Great Depression, while the Internet and housing boom led to the Great Recession during which many people lost their jobs and their homes. Those who held onto their homes lost most if not all of the equity they had built up over many years, and they saw the value of their retirement savings drop dramatically as the stock market plummeted. Fortunately, the economy has stabilized, unemployment and interest rates are at historic lows, and consumers have begun buying homes, automobiles, and many other goods again.

The Great Recession and Job Losses

Many workers were hit very hard during the Great Recession, particularly those in manufacturing and the trades, jobs that typically pay well when the economy is stable and consumers are feeling confident about making significant purchases. As a community, state and nation, we all do well when not only we have jobs, but so too do our neighbors, friends, and family members.

One of the clearest signs of an improving economy is the increase in “hard hat” jobs. While it is frustrating to sit in traffic, it is good to once again see our roadways being paved, office buildings being constructed, and homes being built. In southern New Hampshire, the widening of Route 93 from Salem to Manchester is ongoing, employing hundreds of hard working men and women earning good wages. Office, school, and home construction creates numerous jobs for those in the building trades; iron and steel workers, heavy equipment operators, pipe fitters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, brick layers, landscapers, etc.

Staying Focused on Workplace Safety in an Improving Economy

However, while we all breathe a sigh of relief that the economy has finally recovered, we must remember the human cost which can occur when an employer focuses on building too fast or overlooks workplace safety measures that protect the lives and livelihoods of those employed in these physically demanding and, often, high risk jobs. While it is important to build well, so too is it important to build safely to protect workers.

Fortunately, Congress and state lawmakers have put in place policies to ensure workplace safety and to provide financial protections for injured workers and their families. At the federal level, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the Department of Labor. The purpose in passing OSHA was to “assure as far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions.”

workers' compensationFor OSHA to be effective in preventing workplace injuries and deaths, however, it is critical that Congress continue to provide the funds necessary to ensure that it can fulfill its mission to keep workers safe on the job. Despite the workplace safety mission of OSHA, on average 16 Americans are killed on the job every day and many more are injured, some of whom are permanently disabled.

Remembering the Lives We’ve Lost

On April 28th of every year, “Workers’ Memorial Day” is observed “to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.” For their efforts in promoting safe workplaces, the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman is pleased to recognize the efforts of the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (NH COSH), “a group of health and safety activists who work with a nationwide network of COSH groups to advocate for stronger worker health and safety laws for all workers.”

OSHA is in place to prevent injuries from happening. But what if injuries do in fact take place? In New Hampshire, by law an employee who is injured on the job, through either an accident or occupational disease, is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This law is administered by the New Hampshire Department of Labor. New Hampshire employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees in the event of such injury. New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation law provides that the injury must be related to the work and occur in the course of employment.

Injured workers should consult with attorneys experienced in workers’ compensation law, construction accident law, and Social Security disability law to assist with their claim. Family members of a worker killed on the job should consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney. There are numerous deadlines and countless rules and regulations that require the injured worker, their employer, their doctor(s), and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to take certain action.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Insurance carriers have access to experienced and knowledgeable lawyers to work for them – injured workers should have an attorney on their side as well. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, the firm’s legal, medical, and extensive trial experience is utilized to obtain full and fair compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and permanent injury. For a free consultation, call (603) 239-2427, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

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Experienced, Knowledgeable & Personally Committed to Justice

Attorney Maureen Manning

Let’s Not Forget New Hampshire’s Workers

NH Workers’ Compensation Attorney Discusses Proposed Changes to Law

In 2013, New Hampshire workers suffered 40,000 on the job injuries. Fortunately, most of these injuries were minor, requiring minimal medical care and no lost time from work. Counted among these 40,000 injuries, however, were 8 fatalities, 34 amputations, 58 electrical shocks, more than 1,000 fractured bones, and 70 vision or hearing losses.

Legislation is currently being debated in the State House to address workers’ compensation insurance premiums and the rates charged by the doctors who examine and treat injured workers. Certainly, as an employer, I am interested in workers’ compensation premiums. However, the proposed legislation is complex and will require significant study. It is fair for the legislature to scrutinize what medical providers are being paid as compared to reimbursement under other scenarios. In doing so, however, as a NH workers’ compensation attorney, I implore the legislature to not forget the injured workers our laws are intended to protect.

In my experience as a NH workers’ compensation attorney representing injured workers for nearly 30 years, I have witnessed the physical, mental and economic struggles that follow what are often catastrophic injuries. It is, in many instances, the worst experience of a worker’s life. They are hurt, unable to work, and devastated that they cannot support their families on 60% of their average weekly wage as determined by our workers’ compensation laws. For those who are hard at work earning a decent living, and then suffer an injury requiring medical treatment, such a sudden decrease in income is difficult to absorb. At that point, their primary focus is getting healthy and returning to work as quickly as possible, and our workers’ compensation laws are in place to help them achieve that goal.

Medical Treatment for Injured Workers

Competent and prompt medical treatment often means the difference between a good recovery and a negative one. New Hampshire’s medical doctors, hospitals, and physical therapy centers work hard to return injured workers to the condition they were in before being injured, allowing for a quick return to work. They play a very important role in the rehabilitation of workers stricken with back and neck injuries and cumulative trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries. If the injured worker cannot return to work, but still has some work capacity, the system provides them with vocational assistance.

For the good of all involved, the legislature should not pass any laws adversely impacting an injured worker’s access to necessary medical care – the care that will get them better and back to work. It is vitally important that our legislators closely examine all proposed changes to our workers’ compensation laws with the primary objective of supporting and helping to protect the workers who are the backbone of our state’s economy. They deserve nothing less.

 

Information About Workers’ Compensation “Independent” Medical Exams

workers' compensation lawyerHave you received notice of an exam scheduled by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company? If so, you will need to attend this exam.  You might not want to go for any number of reasons. However, the law requires that you attend or you will jeopardize receiving your benefits.

If for some reason you cannot make the appointment, it is critical to reschedule it.  Not showing up for a scheduled exam will hurt any work injury claim. A workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC can help reschedule an exam.  The doctor will write a report. They will send it to the employer, the insurance company, and your lawyer. It is important to cooperate and provide detailed and accurate information.

Seeing a new medical provider can often cause some concern. This is especially true since the exam is with someone who is not your own doctor.  But there are things you can and should do to make the exam as useful as possible.  First and foremost is to give the examiner a solid and honest understanding of your medical problem.  Be honest with the doctor and do not try to hide information that you think might hurt your case. This includes prior accidents or illnesses.  Make sure to let the examiner know how your medical problem affects you.  Do not exaggerate. Be prepared to provide full information on how your injury impacts your life.

Most of the medical providers who perform these exams conduct a great number of them. The doctor may appear friendly. However, always keep in mind that they are paid by the employer or insurance company. They are not trying to help you! In such a situation, it is easy to forget important details of the significant impact of your medical problems. Preparing a list of how you are impacted helps you to remember important details. This will help you to provide accurate and important information about the impact of your injury or disease. It’s OK to bring your list into the appointment and refer to it.

It is well known that various medical problems impact people differently. This is why it is so important to detail how the symptoms of your medical problem affect you.  Tell the doctor how the medical problem impacts your daily life. This includes if you are unable to work, and why the injury would not allow you to perform your prior, or any, work duties.

The doctor will evaluate your description of symptoms, signs they can observe, and possibly the results of tests. The symptoms are your description of how the medical problem impacts you. They are not given as much consideration in evaluating your medical problem as they are based on your description. Signs are things that a doctor can observe. They are given more weight in determining a disability.

Remember, the doctors are not trying to help you! They are looking to see if the description of your problems match with records they have reviewed and their observations. The doctor will be evaluating you the entire time. They will look to see if you exaggerate your symptoms. They will observe how you walk, stand, and sit. And they might observe how you climb onto an exam table. Don’t overstate your symptoms at this exam, but be sure to not hide them. If something is hard to do or you’re in pain or discomfort, let the doctor know.

It is permissible to bring a family member, friend, or someone from your lawyer’s office to the appointment. It is, in fact, advisable to do so. Having someone with you can help you focus on providing accurate and detailed information to the doctor. They will also be a witness to how thoroughly you were evaluated.  There are many times that doctors performing these evaluations are thorough and provide accurate and helpful information for your case. There are other times, however, that they do not fully evaluate you or get full information about your symptoms. It is helpful to have your witness keep track of how much time the doctor spends with you. Having a witness can help your claim if the report from the evaluation is not helpful.

During the evaluation, the doctor may suggest testing.  You have a right to refuse testing. There are, however, times when tests can help your case.  If you have concerns, let the doctor know you want to think about undergoing the test. It is best to talk to your workers’ compensation lawyer about the potential need for, and impact of, such testing.

After the evaluation is completed, you and any witness to the evaluation should make some notes. It is useful to document how much time was spent with the doctor during the evaluation. Jotting down some notes right after the exam can help you remember what was done and said.  Your workers’ compensation lawyer will want to know how you think the exam went. It is good to check in with their office shortly after the exam is completed.

For more information, including two very in-depth videos about workers’ compensation law, click here. Should you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer, preferably before the exam.

Finding the right New Hampshire workers’ compensation lawyer

You may need a workers’ compensation lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation law to represent you. There are numerous deadlines and countless rules and regulations that must be met. They require you, your employer, your doctor, and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to take certain action. The insurance carriers have access to experienced and knowledgeable lawyers to work for them. You should consider doing the same. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, your initial consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer is always free.

The firm’s legal, medical, and extensive trial experience is utilized to obtain full and fair compensation. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and permanent injury. We may be reached at (603) 624-7200 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com. We may also be reached by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

The NH work injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workers’ Compensation – What You Need to Know

workers' compensationWorkers’ compensation law is designed to help injured workers and their families. It was enacted more than 100 hundred years ago. Before the workers’ compensation system, injured workers had trouble getting needed medical treatment, weekly wage replacement, or any vocational retraining assistance. The rules that govern this law can be complicated and your employer and their insurance carrier have lawyers to pursue and protect their interests, not yours. You can receive a free consultation from the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law. We strongly recommend that you do so to learn about your rights and benefits before it is too late.

If your injury claim has been denied, you should see an attorney right away. You will need to fight for the benefits that the law provides for you. You must request a hearing at the New Hampshire Department of Labor within 18 months of the initial denial or you may be barred from any benefits. This can be devastating, so do not delay getting legal advice if you have been hurt at work and require medical treatment and/or have been restricted from working as a result of your injury. We would be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you may have.

Finding the right New Hampshire workers’ compensation attorney

You may need a New Hampshire attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation law to assist you in your claim. There are numerous deadlines and countless rules and regulations that must be met. They require you, your employer, your doctor, and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to take certain action. The insurance carriers have access to experienced and knowledgeable lawyers to work for them. You should consider doing the same. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, your initial consultation with a New Hampshire workers’ comp attorney is always free.

The firm’s legal, medical and extensive trial experience is utilized to obtain full and fair compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and permanent injury.

The NH work injury lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.