Law Offices of  Michael J. Jensen

Frequently Asked Questions

Since 1984, I have represented injured workers with Alaska Workers' Compensation, US Longshore and Harborworkers Compensation and Social Security Disability claims. In the past I have also handled State of Alaska PERS/ TRS and Federal Workers Compensation Claims.

Benefits are determined differently for Longshore and Harborworkers' Compensation, PERS, TERS, personal injury, Jones Act and Social Security Disability claims. If you believe you have such a claim contact our office for further information.

The following benefits may be available to Injured Workers under the Alaska Workers' Compensation Act:

Medical Treatment - With rare exceptions you are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment at no cost to you for work related injury or illness. You may also be entitled to reimbursement for transportation costs related to obtaining medical treatment.

Temporary Disability - You may be entitled to received monetary payments while you are off work or being paid less than your average weekly wage if disabled due to your injury or work related condition. These benefits are normally paid until your condition is determined medically stable. The amount of temporary disability is based upon a calculation of your average weekly wage, with established maximums, depending upon the date of your injury.

Permanent Partial Impairment - If your injury results in a ratable permanent impairment as determined pursuant to the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, you may be entitled to the payment of these benefits. The impairment rating is usually determined once your condition is deemed to have reached medical stability. In order to receive vocational reemployment benefits, your condition will have to be recognized as resulting in a ratable permanent impairment. The payment of permanent impairment benefits is not a settlement of your claim. It is one of several benefits, which the Act provides and for which premiums have been collected.

Vocational Reemployment Benefits - If you cannot return to your regular job because of limitations caused by your industrial injury or illness, you may be entitled to assistance in finding or being retrained for other employment. Vocational rehabilitation is a program designed to help you acquire the skills necessary to return to suitable gainful employment at your remunerative wage in a determined period of time.

Stipend Benefits - These bi-weekly benefits will normally be paid once the temporary or permanent impairment benefits have been paid out as long as you are still participating in the vocational rehabilitation process.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits - For the most serious of disabilities, lifetime benefits may be available.

Death Benefits - If you were a dependent of an employee who died as a result of an industrial injury or illness, you may have the right to recover certain death benefits including burial expenses.

Should I have an Attorney?

According to the Division of Workers' Compensation statistics, approximately 30,000 work injuries occur every year in Alaska. Most never result in any time loss or need for treatment. Of the ones that do, the vast majority of these claims are resolved before ever going to a hearing. While resolution of your claim is the ultimate goal without an experienced seasoned attorney on your side, you will not know if you received the compensation benefits to which the law entitles you. This may be truer than ever due to legislative changes enacted in 2005 affecting rights to workers compensation benefits.

Each injured worker must be aware that the law is very specific as to time limitations, amounts and types of benefits and remedies allowed. These laws are based on years of case law and legislative changes. These laws are constantly changing due primarily to the influence of big business and insurance interests. Knowledge of these laws comes with experience in applying them. That is where representation by competent counsel becomes so important.

When do you need to contact an attorney?

Here are just some examples:

1. If compensation benefits have been denied or resisted by the employer/carrier.

2. If you cannot return to your job as a result of your disability.

3. If the employer/carrier's doctor disagrees with your doctor's:

  • Diagnosis of your condition,
  • Treatment recommendations,
  • Prediction of medical stability,
  • Permanent impairment rating, and/or,
  • Recommended physical capacities.

4.The employer/carrier or its representative is offering a retraining plan that is not appropriate or does not return you to steady, readily available work at your remunerative wage.

5. If the employer/carrier has failed to pay for your medical care.

6. If all wages, including employer paid pension contributions, have not been included in the calculation of your compensation rate.

7. If the employer/carrier has paid any benefits untimely.

8. If the employer/carrier has scheduled your deposition.

9. If you are offered a settlement.

10. If your employer did not have workers' compensation insurance coverage.

11. If a claim arises as a result of a fatality.

12. If your disability involves two or more employers or carriers.

13. If there is a potential statute of limitations problem.

14. If a party other than the employer was involved in causing your injury or disability.

Will my office take a case against a large company or organization?

Yes. My office has successfully represented clients against the State of Alaska, various municipalities, school districts and the biggest corporations doing business in Alaska.

What do you need to send my office if you are seeking representation?

You will be seeking answers that pertain only to your claim. In order to give you those answers, my office will need to review copies of your medical records, related correspondence, and agency files. Specifically we need:

1. $30.00 processing cost.

2. A copy of your Report Of Injury. If you did not file a Report Of Injury, please indicate.

3. Copies of all your medical reports regarding this claim. These are the most important documents you can provide to allow this office to properly evaluate your claim. You should request these from your doctors or the adjuster handling your claim.

4. Copies of any medical bills that have not been paid by the workers compensation carrier.

5. A copy of your request for Vocational Rehabilitation benefits. If you did not request Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, please indicate.

6. Copies of your tax returns and/or W-2 forms for the year of injury and the two calendar years before your injury. If you are unable to provide a tax return or W-2, you can obtain an earning statement from the Alaska Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration or the IRS. Pay stubs showing wages earned may also be submitted.

7. Copies of any Controversion Notices, Compensation Reports, Recorded Statements, and any other correspondence from the insurer.

For Alaska Workers' Compensation claims only.

8. A copy of your Alaska Workers' Compensation Board file will be needed eventually. You are entitled to one copy of this file and can obtain it by calling:

In Anchorage - (907) 269-4980
In Juneau - (907) 465-2790
In Fairbanks - (907) 451-2889

This Board file may take some time to obtain. For this reason you should request a copy now. The information in this file is important and often very helpful. Do not delay sending the other above requested information for our review while waiting for a copy of your Board file to arrive.

Your claim cannot be reviewed until our office has received all of the required information. Any incomplete files will be returned after 30 days.

What can you do to "fast track" review of your claim with my office?

1. When you contact my office, we will send you a letter and questionnaire requesting information described above. While waiting for my letter, please contact the appropriate parties for copies of any information you may still be missing.

2. Most importantly, obtain a copy of your doctor's most recent reports. If there is a medical report from a doctor selected by the employer/carrier, usually referred to as an IME (Independent Medical Evaluation), please have your doctor review it and include his/her comments.

Any other advice?

Do not wait until a hearing (not prehearing), has been set to contact my office. I cannot stress how important it is to allow my office plenty of time to prepare prior to an agency or court hearing. If a hearing (not prehearing) has already been set my office will not represent you.

How will you be involved?

I count on my clients to assist with:

1. Obtaining copies of records from their doctor.

2. Obtaining responses other than the normal chart notes from their doctor.

3. Obtaining copies of medical bills and receipts, transportation reimbursement logs, pension and wage documentation.

4. Keeping my office informed of any changes.

5. Assisting with witnesses when necessary.

Please understand this site is for information purposes only and is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice provided by the Law Offices of Michael J. Jensen. Every case is different and unique. The Law Offices of Michael J. Jensen does not represent you. The Law Offices of Michael J. Jensen will not represent you unless we have spoken and the Law Offices of Michael J. Jensen has agreed in writing to represent you.

12350 Industry Way, Suite 208
Anchorage, AK 99515

Tel: (907) 277-8000
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