Skaug Law - April 2020

What to Do When Your Workers’ Comp Claim Gets Denied You reported your injury within 60 days and filled out the proper forms to file a workers’ comp claim. Now, your employer is denying your claim and forcing you to take on all the medical costs for an injury that happened under their roof, on their time, and you’re drowning in medical bills. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure you get properly compensated by your employer, even after they deny your claim. For a formal complaint, you will record what happened, what medical treatments you’ve received, and the damages you’re requesting from your employer. Then, you need to send a copy to both your employer and their workers’ compensation carrier. When they receive this form, they will have to respond to your concerns in a legal document called an answer. The IIC will also assign you a commissioner to help you monitor the status of your appeal. GO THROUGH THE MEDIATION PROCESS. Mediation is less formal than an appeal hearing. It’s a way to see if the disagreement between you and your employer can be quickly resolved before proceeding to an actual appeal. If you reach an agreement in the mediation process, your case doesn’t need to go any further. FILE A FORMAL REQUEST FOR A HEARING. If mediation doesn’t work, then the next step is your appeal hearing. The hearing will be similar to a civil trial, with evidence presented and witnesses called. Depending on the amount of evidence, the number of witnesses, and a few other factors, the hearing could be as short as a few hours or as long as a few weeks. Once you and your employer present everything, the IIC commissioner will review the evidence and give you a decision within 90 days of the hearing. CHALLENGE THE DECISION. If things don’t end in your favor, you can ask the IIC to reconsider within 20 days of learning their decision. If that doesn’t work, you can appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court within 42 days. Throughout this process, it is important to have Skaug Law in your corner. We are the biggest workers’ comp firm in Idaho, and we will fight for your case. Give us a call today at (208) 466-0030. FILE A FORMAL COMPLAINT WITH THE IDAHO INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION (IIC).

Something in the Water

Why Rob Bilott Took on DuPont Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case. The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously. The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found. Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.

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