Hurt at Work in Wisconsin? What Happens Now?

Hurt at Work in Wisconsin? What Happens Now?

Now what happens?!  You have been hurt at work, you are scared and do not know what to do or who to listen to.   Mays Law Office hears this question every single day.

Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays talks to injured workers on a daily basis – free of charge.  Every story varies but the emotions are always the same – fear, confusion, uncertainty, and even anger.  No one wakes up and thinks “Oh Boy, I sure hope I get hurt at work today.”  Accidents causing injuries at workplaces happen daily and fault, for the most part with certain legal exceptions, is not a factor in Wisconsin.  So, let’s say you slip and fall because a puddle of water was carelessly left on the floor, or you are walking too fast and miss a step running up the stairs and you blow out your knee.  In those kinds of situations, blame and fault is not a factor to be considered and not a reason to be denied workers compensation benefits.

So, what is the process once a Wisconsin worker injures himself?  The first question is whether the injury is serious enough that medical treatment is required?  Obviously, any injury involving broken bones, stitches, serious pain, difficulties with mobility and clear thinking should be medically treated immediately.  All work injuries should be reported to the employer so that an Incident/Accident Report can be timely completed by you and your supervisor.  Work comp claims can and have been denied for failure to report them timely to the employer; by not doing so raises suspicion and puts the injured workers credibility and honesty at risk.  With such information, your employer is responsible for notifying their workers compensation insurance carrier so that a claim can be opened, an investigation started, and benefits for lost time and medical treatment paid.

Once a workers compensation claim is filed, everyone has responsibilities.  The Employer is responsible to comply with any requests for complete, truthful and timely information made by the workers compensation carrier.  The Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier is responsible to diligently investigate the claim, respond to the employer’s reporting of the claim, talk to witnesses, get a statement from the injured worker as to the details how the work injury occurred.  The insurance carrier should also be reviewing medical records and sending out medical authorizations for the injured worker to sign for the review of their relevant medical records.  All of this is necessary for the workers compensation carrier to make a timely decision to either accept or deny, in good faith, the workers compensation claim.

The Wisconsin Injured Worker is responsible to give true and accurate statements as to how the injury occurred to their employer, the workers compensation insurance carrier, and their doctors.  Every statement of recollection must be consistent as to date, time, details, witnesses, and pain symptoms.  Any inconsistency can, and likely will, be used against the injured worker in an attempt to deny the claim.  The injured worker must maintain a good relationship with their medical providers.  Meaning, do not miss doctor appointments.  Do not disregard your doctor’s advice, treatment, and recommendations.  Keep in mind that your doctor will not be keen to support your claim if you have been a difficult patient.  Doctors like patients that follow their treatment, listen to their recommendations, and appear to want to get better.  Maintaining integrity with your doctors is of utmost importance because your comments and behavior is being documented in your medical records with every single communication that you have with them and their medical office, meaning their medical assistants, nurses, and even receptionist.  Also, the injured worker must keep their employer informed of their physical restrictions and availability to work.  Don’t just do this verbally.   It should be done by phone, text, email, and in writing so that the employer does not claim that you abandoned your job by failing to communicate after the injury.

Remember, an Injured Worker must never be seen doing anything that would be considered inconsistent with their injury.  Stay away from posting on social media as pictures can be damaging and misunderstood.  For instance, an injured worker suffering from a sore knee should not be posting pictures with their volleyball club team in a competitive setting.  It is only logical to assume that an injured worker with a knee injury would not be able to play volleyball.  Likewise, keep in mind that insurance companies hire investigators to conduct surveillance so be watchful as to how you appear to others, in public and even in your own yard, garage, porch, and deck!

So, now the Wisconsin injured worker says “Damn It, I’ve done all of this and I have still been denied Wisconsin workers compensation benefits!  What next….?!

If a Wisconsin injured worker’s claim for workers compensation has been denied, or even has a sense that their claim for workers compensation benefits will be denied, then they should immediately call Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays at Mays Law Office.  Attorney Mays will provide a free phone consultation.  She will ask a series of questions to get to know you and your injury claim better.  She will review your communication with the workers compensations insurance carrier.  She will go over your medical treatment to understand your diagnosis and prognosis.  At the end of your conversation, you questions will be answered and suggestions offered as to how to proceed next.

Keep in mind that every work injury is different, unique, and requires it owns customized approach.  If the timing and circumstances of your claim calls for it, then Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays will invite you to come to her Middleton/Madison office, if convenient, to discuss your claim further.  This in-person meeting is still part of the free consultation provided by Mays Law Office.  The meeting will last about an hour and half so that all the details of your denied claim can be thoroughly discussed and documented.  At the end of this meeting, a well-developed plan will be formalized as to how your workers compensation claim will be pursued.  Attorney Pierobon Mays will detail everything that you can expect and will be involved in the injury claim EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  Your claim will NEVER be assigned to another attorney or a paralegal.  Every email, phone call, and correspondence will involve Attorney Pierobon Mays.

Attorney Pierobon Mays has been representing Wisconsin injured workers since 1997 – that’s 25 years of experience fighting and winning.  Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays is not intimidated by any Wisconsin employer or workers compensation insurance carrier.  See her actual results by doing a simple Google review search.  You will see 5 Stars ratings from her actual clients who have found her effective, respected, and aggressive in achieving positive results for them.

Mays Law Office knows that suffering a work injury is scary and intimating but Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays is only a phone call away from answering all of  your questions and easing your concerns.

What Should an Injured Wisconsin Worker Do After Their Injury?

What Should an Injured Wisconsin Worker Do After Their Injury?

There is no doubt that employers HATE work injuries. So what is an injured worker to do…? Stay quiet about her injury for fear that her employer becomes angry at her and in retaliation reduces her hours, changes her duties to something undesirable, or makes the work environment hostile. OR should the injured worker report her injury immediately regardless of her employer’s response because if the injury turns out to be serious and requires medical treatment and lost time from work then she will need to have it covered under workers’ compensation? 

Many injured workers wrongly take the wait-and-see approach. With this approach, they hope that the pain or symptoms are no more than a mere strain or sprain and will improve after a few days. If not then they will worry about reporting it later. 

While this wait-and-see approach may seem like a logical compromise, it will hurt the injured worker if the injury turns out to be more serious than originally thought. Not reporting the accident promptly, allows the employer to question the worker’s credibility which could lead to denial of medical treatment, benefits for missed time from work, and loss of a monetary award based on the permanent injury. Moreover, your private health carrier may also deny coverage of medical treatment if claimed as a work injury as such treatment is the responsibility of the worker’s compensation insurance carrier. Now the worker is in a Catch 22 predicament. 

What about if the employer has a policy requiring strict internal deadlines for reporting accidents, such as within 24 hours of the injury, which the worker deliberately did not follow? Now the employee can be reprimanded and her credibility and job security are jeopardized. 

Ultimately, the injured worker needs to report a work injury to avoid this Catch 22 predicament. When reporting the injury, always do it in writing and get a copy of your written report. Every reputable employer has an Accident Report Form. If no form can be found, draft your own report. Details such as who, what, where, when, how, and why are easily remembered when describing the injury. Details such as dates and times are always crucial. Keep a photocopy of what you report to the employer. If the employer refuses to provide a copy, use your smartphone to take a picture of it. When it comes to a workers compensation injury, document, document, document! Keep a journal with dates, times, witnesses, specifics as to how the injury occurred, and medical appointments because your memory will fade over time. Again, smartphones have lots of apps to keep details documented for you, such as voice recorders, cameras, note-taking, calendars, etc. 

Even if you are late in reporting an injury, you should still follow these recommendations. Remember, better late than never. 

Wisconsin law protects injured workers. Mays Law Office and Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays are here for you. Call for a free and immediate consultation. Everything we discuss is confidential. We proudly represent the Wisconsin injured worker. See testimonials from our clients. 


12 Common Issues with Field Sobriety Tests Wisconsin

12 Common Issues with Field Sobriety Tests Wisconsin

There are two important facts you need to know about taking the field sobriety tests (FSTs) in Wisconsin. First, taking the FSTs is not mandatory. You have the right to refuse the field sobriety tests during your DUI stop, and prosecutors cannot secure a conviction based on the fact that you chose not to voluntarily submit to the FSTs.

Second, if you take the field sobriety tests, your test results will only be used against you. Prosecutors will use your “failure” as evidence of guilt; and, if you do not dispute this evidence successfully, your decision to take the FSTs could lead to a conviction at trial.

Ways a Madison DUI Lawyer May Be Able to Challenge Your Field Sobriety Test Results

But, while failing the field sobriety tests can have severe negative repercussions, it is possible to challenge poor performance on the FSTs in many cases. Here are 12 examples of ways a Madison DUI lawyer may be able to challenge your field sobriety test results in court:

1. Failure to Provide Adequate Instructions

Before administering the field sobriety tests, the police must provide adequate instructions in the language you can understand. If your arresting officer failed to provide you with appropriate instructions, this means that you had virtually no way of passing the FSTs.

2. Failure to Administer the Standardized Tests

There are three “standardized” field sobriety tests that police in Wisconsin are supposed to use: (i) the walk-and-turn test, (ii) the one-leg stand test, and (iii) the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. If your arresting officer administered any other type of test (i.e. asking you to outstretch your arm then put your finger to your nose), your performance on this test shouldn’t be used against you.

The police are supposed to use the standardized FSTs because these tests have proven to be the most reliable (when they are administered appropriately). However, studies have shown that even these tests only provide an accurate assessment of a driver’s impairment level around 80% to 90% of the time.

3. Improper Administration of the Standardized Tests

When administering the standardized field sobriety tests, the police must follow a rigid set of protocols. If they don’t (or if prosecutors cannot prove that they did), this can entitle a driver to have his or her FST results kept out of court.

4. Uneven or Unstable Ground

The standardized field sobriety tests are designed to be performed on flat ground with no hazards or obstructions. If the police had you perform the field sobriety tests on a sloped shoulder, if the ground was muddy or slick, or if there were rocks or debris on the ground, these are all factors that could invalidate the results of your FSTs.

5. Poor Weather or Lighting Conditions

The standardized field sobriety tests are also designed to be performed in good weather and lighting conditions. If it was raining or snowing when you got pulled over, or if it was dark or dimly lit, these factors could have negatively impacted your performance on the FSTs. Puddles, ice or snow on the ground, and being blinded by passing cars’ headlights are also common factors that can cause failure regardless of a driver’s level of intoxication.

6. Testing Your Physical Agility

While the field sobriety tests are intended to test a driver’s level of intoxication, what they often test is a driver’s physical agility. Even when they are not under the influence of alcohol, many people struggle to stand on one leg for an extended period of time or walk heel-to-toe without losing their balance. If you lacked the physical agility required to pass the field sobriety tests, then your test results in no way suggest that you are guilty of DUI.

7. Testing Your Ability to Follow Instructions

Many people fail the standardized field sobriety tests because they have difficulty following the arresting officer’s instructions. If you were unable to follow along, this does not necessarily mean that you were drunk. It could simply mean that you had trouble remembering everything the officer told you or that you misinterpreted the instructions in some way.

8. Testing Your Ability to Focus Under Stress

There is no denying that getting pulled over is stressful. It gets even more stressful when the officer asks if you have been drinking and then asks you to step out of the car. If you, like many people, find it difficult to focus when you are under stress, you could very easily fail the FSTs even if you are completely sober.

9. No Quantitative Scoring System

Unlike the breathalyzer, which measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the field sobriety tests do not have a quantitative scoring system. Instead, your “failure” is based on the arresting officer’s subjective interpretation of your performance. Even if you make one minor mistake during one field sobriety test, this can be enough for an officer to arrest you for being drunk behind the wheel.

10. Improper Interpretation of Your Performance

It is not at all uncommon for the police to misinterpret drivers’ performance on the field sobriety tests. From failing to observe the entire test to not having a clear understanding of a test’s parameters, there are a variety of issues that can lead to an improper interpretation of a driver’s performance.

11. No Second Chance

Typically, once you make a mistake on a field sobriety test, that’s it. You don’t get a second chance. Even if you are fully capable of passing the tests, you won’t get the opportunity to do so.

12. Alternate Explanations for a “Failed” Test

From physical injuries to unstable shoes, and from health conditions to baggy clothes, there are numerous issues that can explain a “failed” field sobriety test. If there is any alternate explanation for your failure, an experienced Madison DUI lawyer should be able to use this to help protect you.

Discuss Your Case with a Madison DUI Lawyer in Confidence

Did you fail the field sobriety tests during your DUI stop in Madison? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. While it may be possible to challenge your FST results, it may be necessary to assert other defenses as well. To discuss your case with an experienced Madison DUI lawyer in confidence, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.