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The Injured Workers Puzzle Picture – Part 1

Welcome to the first article of a multi-part series about documenting the “puzzle picture” of an injured worker.

It’s going to be a BIG puzzle.

After representing seriously injured workers for over 30 years, I have been given a unique opportunity to understand the challenges that workers face daily in the California workers’ compensation system. It has been a privilege to create new strategies to secure the treatment and benefits that my clients are clearly entitled to, and present those strategies to attorneys at many seminars over the years.

I now share that knowledge with you.

The harsh reality is that workers’ compensation laws are complex and constantly changing. Even when a case is pending, a new law could have a major impact on the outcome. Understandably, many seriously injured workers need help navigating the system, and at the same time facing the many challenges of that the injury or condition presents.

The main purpose of this series is to provide insights into the system, offer analysis based on experience, and various strategies to consider to achieve just and accurate results. Sort of like Rick Steves does as a tour guide, but without the great meals.

Let me begin the series telling you about the title, “The Injured Workers Puzzle Picture”.

Here is why the analogy works so well:

First, each piece of the puzzle picture should reflect the injured workers’ individual reality. Since each person is unique, each puzzle piece should contain unique documentation.

Second, the reason the California workers compensation is often referred to as a “cookie-cutter” system is because it generally delivers treatment and benefits using generic charts and guidelines. The challenge in each case is to assure that there is documentation of the unique impacts of the injury that the generic charts don’t consider.

Finally, when all the pieces are assembled and presented to the Judge, the final picture should reflect the injured workers’ reality as accurately as the law permits. In this way, an injured worker can obtain a just award of benefits.

The purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to serve injured workers. I trust this series will help put the focus back where it belongs.

Tom Martin

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