Interview 6:44 PM
August 12th, 2002
Are you glad you hired Channing?
Channing was the best. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Incredibly caring. You aren’t going to meet many as caring as he is. He is so supportive.
What was your case about?
I had a Workers comp in 1996. I was working for a law firm as a workers comp paralegal. I got injured on the job.
The lawyer I worked for couldn’t handle my case because of the conflict of interest, so she referred me to Channing. My law firm even told the insurance company to award compensation to me. Even with that, the insurance company denied my claim. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Right from the beginning, they just kept saying “no”.
Insurance Companies make a lot of money off of workers comp cases…they are in the business of denying workers compensation cases. They hire very young people in their 20's who want to get promoted. They are trained to think we are all cheating. These young people get promoted for keeping within a set budget. They don’t know anything about injuries or illness and they don’t understand what it is like to have had an injury that keeps you from doing the job that supports your family. Channing understands where clients are coming from, the fear they face. I had an incredible fear of what to do to just get by.
We are at the mercy of Workers' Compensation system…. You might get an insurer that is willing to pay…but others are known for their nastiness.
I used to refer to myself as “damaged goods”. I was in my 40's and had a lot of fear. Channing really understood this fear and what I was going through.
Channing is amazingly creative. He really works to find money for you.
For example, instead of going for the whole thing the whole time, he first got them to pay partial.That way, I had at least a little something to get me by. You have collection people coming after you for medical bills and you have money coming to pay it…but, it was all very scary.
Before the conference in front of the judge, you have to go to their doctors, who mostly try to minimize your injury, and your own doctors.
Because I had worked as a worker’s comp paralegal, I saw how the whole system worked. When the law changed, the power went to insurance companies. Doctors don’t even want to take Workers' Compensation cases because they can’t be assured they will get paid and they know they won’t be paid right away because the insurance companies deny so many claims. So doctors and health plans do not want to deal with work related injuries. That’s where you fall through the cracks. Injured workers get battered around on both ends.
There is a whole series of choices and options you go through as part of a case. All your fears and worry add to the pain. But during the process, Channing tried everything to get them to be reasonable by going beyond the call of duty. Incredibly kind, supportive and very, very good at what he does.
We got our day in court in 6 to 8 months. We went before a judge. I started crying (not balling or anything, but teary eyed) when Channing told my story in of front of judge. He detailed all my struggles. Even the insurance company admitted that they had just denied my claim from day one. We ended up winning. But that doesn’t end it.
The Insurance company put in for appeal. That’s a more difficult process. You have your money to live on, but your fear is that if you lose on appeal, you have to pay it back.
When you go on appeal everything that you have done to that point goes out the window. You have to go to new “independent medical examiner”. That doctor’s word ( the ‘IME” ) is it. Nobody knew my doctor. It was a real crapshoot. I thought of him as a medical judge because only his word matters. I still remember the stress and fear of the 45 minutes I had to wait for that doctor sitting on the table in that drafty room. This doctor, that I saw, validated all my previous doctor’s reports. So that was good.
You wait a long long time. My case took about one and a half years. When you win, you get 60% of what you were making. There are all sorts of limits and caps …that Channing can tell you about.
But, it doesn’t even end when you settle your case. The insurance company was mandated to pay all my medical costs that are reasonable and related to my injury. They pay and then they just stop paying! Twice we had to go to conciliation in front a judge because the insurance company stopped paying. And Channing got them to pay.
Insurance companies are outrageous. Now, Insurance companies are lobbying hard to make repetitive strain injuries non-compensable.
But anyway, Channing helps keep them paying. Attorneys don’t get really paid anything after that settlement. I suspect that not all attorneys would keep helping like Channing does.
So, did you get back to work?
Yes, I had surgery and then was re-employed and that worked great.
Did you go through vocational rehabilitation?
Yes, I went through the process when I was going back to school for re-training. I was suppose to get a voice activated computer, but it took too long and I ended up doing a number on my hands and then I had to have surgery. And that fixed things.
I couldn’t ask for anything better. Channing is one of the very best.
Any final comments?
Channing is so upbeat. He is sharp, quick, supportive, caring. I could go on and on. I’m sure he is really one of the best.