A Dedicated Attorney, Fighting in Your Corner
Are you tired of fighting with your employer and the insurance carrier after your workplace injury? Whether you cannot reach your insurance company to obtain the medical treatment you need or your employer will not let you return to work when you are ready, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can make sure that your rights are protected.
At Leen, Chase & Dufour, we are passionate about fighting for the rights of injured workers. For over 41 years, we have been committed to ensuring that injured workers get the workers’ compensation they deserve. Let our experience and dedication work for you.
We Work Hard for You
In Maine, the workers’ compensation system is an uphill battle for injured workers. If you are unable to return to work after a serious injury, you are facing major medical and financial concerns. You are up against a process designed, from beginning to end, to discourage the treatment and payment to you. With Leen, Chase & Dufour in your corner, you can take confidence in knowing that we will fight to make sure you get the full extent of benefits you deserve.
Honest Straightforward Advice
If you have suffered a serious work injury, we will provide honest and straightforward counsel regarding your options and the potential consequences. We will take the time to listen and understand the unique facts of your situation and advise you accordingly.
We evaluate each claim on a case by case basis. We will look at more than just your direct injury. We will evaluate the progressive nature of your injury and how it affects every part of your body. Keep in mind that we help injured workers get the workers’ compensation they deserve after the following injuries:
- Crush Injuries
- Machine Injuries
- Repetitive Stress
- Heart Attacks
- Shoulder, Neck, Back, and Spine Injuries
- Carpal Tunnel
During the uphill battle with the workers’ compensation carrier, it is important that you do everything you can to fight for your rights and obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Contact our Bangor office today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I am injured at work?
You must tell your employer (which can mean a supervisor or a member of management) as soon as possible that you have been injured.
When must I tell my employer that I have been injured at work?
You must tell your employer within 30 days of your injury, or when you learn of your injury, that you have been injured. If you wait more than 30 days after the injury, you will lose the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. If you were injured prior to January 1, 2013, you must tell your employer within 90 days of your injury.
What should my employer do when I report an injury?
Your employer must complete a First Report of Injury within 7 days. Your employer must give you a copy of the First Report of Injury. If you lose a day’s work because of your injury, your employer must also file the First Report of Injury with the Workers’ Compensation Board. If your employer does not complete the First Report of Injury, you should call a regional office of the Workers’ Compensation Board
and ask to speak to a Troubleshooter.
Can I get medical help for my injury?
Yes. For the first 10 days, your employer has the right to select a health care provider to treat your injury. After the first 10 days of treatment you may choose a different health care provider. You do this by telling your employer that you wish to have a different person treat your injury.
Can my employer ask me to see another doctor?
Yes. Section 207 of the Workers’ Compensation Act says that your employer can require you to see a different doctor for another opinion if you are treating with a health care provider of your own choice. This is not the same thing as an Independent Medical Exam under Section 312, a process that is explained later in this guide.
Will my employer pay for any other medical costs?
Yes. Your employer will pay for medicine and for mileage to and from your visits to health care providers. It will also pay for medical aids such as wheelchairs, crutches and hearing aids.
If I need treatment while my employer disputes my claim, will my health insurer pay my bills?
Yes. If the workers’ compensation insurer will not pay your claim for medical treatment, you can submit the bills to your health insurer for payment. Your health insurer must pay the bills if the workers’ compensation insurer is denying your claim for medical treatment.
What if I have to miss time from work because of my injury?
If you miss more than 7 days of work because of an injury, you are entitled to receive weekly compensation benefits. If you lose between 7 and 13 days, you will be paid for those days. If you miss more than 14 days, you will be paid for all of the days that you have missed. For example, if you miss 9 days of work, you would receive 2 days of benefits. If you missed 16 days of work, you would receive 16
days of benefits.
Will my employer pay me my full salary while I am out?
No. If you were injured on or after January 1, 2013, your employer will pay you 2/3 of your average weekly wage. This is called your compensation rate. There is a limit on how much you can receive. As of July 1, 2016, the maximum benefit you can receive is $789.35 per week. The maximum is adjusted annually on July 1. If you were injured on or between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2012, your employer will pay you 80% of your after-tax average weekly wage. As of July 1, 2016, the maximum benefit you can receive is $710.42 per week. The maximum is adjusted annually on July 1. If you were injured prior to January 1, 1993, your employer will pay you 2/3 of your gross average weekly wage.
When does my employer have to decide if it is going to pay me for my lost time?
Your employer must decide whether or not to pay your lost time claim within 14 days of the time you tell your employer about your injury.
What if my employer does not do anything for the first 14 days?
If your employer does not dispute your claim within 14 days, it must begin paying you weekly compensation. Your employer must continue paying you at least until it files a Notice of Controversy.
How will I know if my employer is going to pay my claim?
If your employer decides to pay your claim, it will send you a Memorandum of Payment.
My Memorandum of Payment says that my claim has been “accepted.” What does that mean?
This means that your employer agrees that you have been injured at work and that you are entitled to benefits.
My Memorandum of Payment says that my “claim is voluntary payment pending investigation.” What does that mean?
This means that your employer is
paying your claim even though it is not sure that your injury is work-related. This type of payment is often called “payment without prejudice.”
What if I can work but I cannot find a job?
You may be entitled to receive 100% of your compensation rate if your injury stops you from returning to work. You can show that your injury prevents you from returning to work by doing a “work search,” in other words, by keeping a list of the jobs that you have applied for but have not gotten.
What if I can go back to work, but I cannot earn as much as I used to earn?
If you can return to work, but your injury stops you from earning as much as you used to earn, you may receive partial benefits. Partial benefits are equal to 2/3 of the difference between your average weekly wage before the injury and your average weekly wages after the injury. If you were injured before January 1, 2013, your partial benefits are equal to approximately 80% of the difference between what your average weekly wage was before your injury and your earnings after you return to work.
Can my employer stop paying benefits without my agreement?
Yes. If your claim is “accepted,” your employer can stop paying benefits if you return to work for your employer, or if you receive an increase in pay from your employer. Your employer may also file a Petition for Review to stop or reduce your weekly benefits. If your claim is being paid without prejudice, your employer can stop paying benefits if you return to work for your employer, or receive an increase in pay from your employer. In addition, the employer can stop your benefits by filing a 21-day certificate of discontinuance.
What is a 21-day certificate of discontinuance?
If your employer is paying you without prejudice, it can notify you that it intends to discontinue weekly benefits no earlier than 21 days from the date that it mailed the notice to you. Your employer must state the reasons it is going to stop your benefits.
What can I do if I receive a 21-day certificate of discontinuance?
You can file a Petition for Review and request a provisional order. When you file these forms, you will be asking an Administrative Law Judge to decide, within about 21 days, whether or not your employer should be able to stop your benefits before a hearing is held. You can contact this office immediately.
What if my employer refuses to pay my claim?
If your employer refuses to pay your claim it will file a Notice of Controversy. A Notice of Controversy is often called a “NOC.” The Notice of Controversy should indicate why your employer is not agreeing to pay your claim.
What is an independent medical exam?
When a request for an independent medical exam is granted, the Workers’ Compensation Board will ask a doctor to examine you and whatever records you and your employer want him or her to review. The independent medical examiner will write a report that explains whether or not your injury is related to work. The independent medical examiner’s decision will be binding on you and your employer unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the examiner’s findings are wrong.
What is the difference between an independent medical exam under Section 312 and a medical exam under Section 207?
An examination under Section 207 is an examination by a doctor that your employer has chosen. The doctor’s medical opinion is not binding on you and your employer.
An independent medical exam is an exam under Section 312 by a doctor that the Workers’ Compensation Board has chosen. Unlike a Section 207 exam, the findings of an independent medical examiner are binding unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the examiner’s findings are wrong.
Can my employer discriminate against me if I file a workers’ compensation claim?
No. Your employer cannot discriminate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer cannot discriminate against you for testifying in a workers’ compensation claim. If you think your employer has discriminated against you because you filed a claim or testified, you can file a Petition to Remedy Discrimination.