Workers' compensation is a conspiracy and insurers and employers routinely conspire to defeat
the claims of injured workers. The conspiracy begins with the law. Wealthy
insurers and big business lobbied your government for laws favorable for
them that reduce the amounts an injured worker can win if they are successful
in their case. Under workers' compensation laws, money is only awarded for
disability (based on what I call a "meat chart") and your real harms and
losses - like the pain and suffering one goes through - are never fully
paid for by an employer even if you win your hearing. We could talk all
day about the legislative issues which harm workers' rights, but I
only bring it up to point out that employers and insurers are cheating
in a game already rigged in their favor.
After a work injury you are immediately trapped in "The Workers Compensation
Conspiracy" - a complex system of insurance companies and large employers
who routinely cheat and lie to avoid paying claims. And, to make matters
worse, insurance companies and employers have the right in Missouri to
direct medical care. This allows their adjustors and smart defense attorneys
find and pay medical doctors large sums of money to join with the defense
team to defeat claims and cheat even the most seriously injured workers.
As a result, your work comp doctors have an inherent conflict - they took
an oath to help their patients, but they know who is paying their bills
and they want to keep that business.
To add insult to your work injury, while the insurers, doctors, and lawyers
are being paid handsomely to defeat your case and send you back to light
duty as soon as possible, you are getting paid a fraction of what you
usually earn. To discredit your claim, your employer's human resources
department or your supervisor will obtain written and audio statements
from you, and will use them against you every chance they get. You will
be drug tested as a punishment for getting hurt. You will be followed,
investigated, and sometimes video-recorded - even if you hired a lawyer
to represent you. I see these egregious practices happen nearly every day.
I have fought these cheaters for over 21 years before the Division of Workers
Compensation, the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, and less
frequently, the Missouri Court of Appeals. Because cheating harms my clients
and destroys our justice system, when I catch an employer cheating, I
always want to take the case to trial and make a record of the misconduct
in an effort to prevent it from recurring. And I have. I tell people about
it, like I am doing here, because cheating angers me, and because I like
my clients.They work hard, suffer an injury, and try to support themselves
and their families on the pittance the law requires they receive. This
article will outline specific types of cheating I have found, cite cases
that prove it, and prove to you that there is a workers' compensation
- MEDICAL DOCTORS ARE HIRED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES AND WILL LIE TO DEFEAT CASES.
Mirkin Lies in the Case of
Dale Wieda vs. Stupp Brothers Bridge and Iron
I have a current client who I have represented for over 15 years and whose
case I tried and won. I am proud to represent Dale Wieda and he has given
me permission to tell his story.
Dale herniated a disc at L4-L5 in his lumbar spine that caused damage to
his spinal column while pulling a c-clamp in the course of performing
his job at the Stupp Brothers. In his case, the employer authorized the
medical provider and chose Dr. Peter Mirkin who performed an unsuccessful
surgery that left Dale in pain. While Dale was still recovering, the defense
sent private investigators in cars with tinted windows to secretly video
him and when surveillance found nothing they tried not to produce the
videotapes to us. Ultimately, I only received some of the videos, but
I did use them at trial because they helped our case.
Anyway, I eventually deposed Dr. Mirkin and Dr. Mirkin's sworn testimony
was that Mr. Wieda was not healing because he was diabetic and he was
not compliant with his diabetic medication. I had Dr. Mirkin testify clearly
about the diabetes and how that diabetes prevented the healing. The defense
offered us less than ten thousand dollars to resolve the case after the
deposition. I held back my laughter and I knew the problem with that testimony
is that Mr. Wieda did not have diabetes. I call that a lie. The Court
of Appeals said it too but a bit differently, calling Dr. Mirkin "biased,
uninformed, and not credible." And Dale's case is routinely cited
and has been used to prevent these lies from harming others. After Dale's
case came other cases that said similar things about Dr. Mirkin. Several
other law firms have written briefs that cite and rely on Dale's case.
Here is an excerpt from one of them:
Missouri Courts have found that Dr. Mirkin has a reputation for altering
his examination findings and testimony.... The commission in
Abodi took judicial notice that "Dr. Mirkin has previously materially changed his testimony to suit his
employer and has fabricated medical conditions in order to suit his indefensible opinions."
Abodi at p. 4. The commission in
Ottinger found the testimony of Dr. Mirkin to be "laden with falsehoods" and "utterly unworthy of belief."
Ottinger at p. 2.
Wieda v. Stupp Brothers, Inc., Injury No. 98-073505, Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
(2000), the Commission found that "Dr. Mirkin, the defense medical expert, relied on erroneous facts that
were not contained anywhere in the record."
Wieda at p.6. "In this case, Dr. Mirkin is a biased and uninformed witness. His opinions
Wieda at p.7. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission's decision in
Weida, holding that the employee was entitled to temporary total benefits and
continuing medical treatment. The court of Appeals held that "Employer's medical expert, Dr. Mirkin, was found to be biased, uninformed
and not credible."
Wieda v. Stupp Brother, Inc., 52 S.W.3d 602, 603 (Mo.App.E.D. 2001).
Allen v. Grasser Electric Corp., Injury Nos. 96-124441 & 97-083569 (2002), the Missouri Labor and
Industrial Relations Commission (2000), the Commission found the following:
We are not persuaded nor are we impressed by Dr. Mirkin's opinions.
The Commission has previously determined that Dr. Mirkin parrots the opinions
of whoever is paying him and he is unworthy of belief. He was the only
doctor to state that claimant was fine and did not need any further treatment.
Because his opinion on the claimant's need for further treatment was
so incredulous, we give not weight to his opinions on which accident is
responsible for claimant's disability.
Allen at p.5.
As you may have surmised, Mr. Wieda and I won his case despite Dr. Mirkin's
testimony that diabetes prevented him from healing. The Employer was required
to pay benefits in a temporary award. We also won attorney fees and costs
as sanctions. The employer/insurer did not agree with our victory, and
appealed the case in an interim hearing with the Court of Appeals, which is how
Dale Wieda v. Stupp Brothers, Inc. Eastern District 78612 came before that court. Unfortunately, the idea for this article comes
out of the same case. After 14 years, the insurer recently sent the file
for an "Independent Review" to have some doctor that never examined
Mr. Wieda write a medical opinion that the medications Mr. Wieda takes
for pain are no longer required. However, because we secured an award
in the case we are in a great position to fight this new opinion and demand
both medical care as well as reasonable attorney's fees and costs
if they violate the court order.
Collard misses a rotator cuff tear and Charter's attorney withholds
medical information from their own doctor in
Gabe Overy vs. Charter.
Another example of the medical conspiracy can be found in a hardship trial
we had against Charter Communications about a month ago. Gabriel Overy
was a good and loyal employee of Charter who was hurt at work when he
threw a heavy ladder onto his truck and tore his rotator cuff. Charter
sent Gabe to Dr. Collard, who reviewed Gabe's MRI, found a tear, and
recommended surgery to repair it. Unfortunately, when Dr. Collard did
the surgery he did not locate the tear and sewed Gabe back up without
fixing the damage. Then, Dr. Collard sent Gabe to physical therapy, which
he tried to complete but was unable to because the tear in his shoulder
was never fixed. When Gabe complained of intense pain, the physical therapy
folks called him a malingerer - a fancy term for liar. Dr. Collard could
not understand what was wrong and wanted to perform additional studies
to find out, but Charter refused to pay. So, I sent Gabe to a doctor who
said a surgery was required to fix the rotator cuff based on the MRI that
everyone - including Dr. Collard - had previously seen. Unfortunately,
Charter and their attorneys never told Dr. Collard of the new doctor's
opinion, so Dr. Collard was unable to fix the problem rather than fight
the case. By the time Dr. Collard was deposed, Charter's lawyers still
had not provided Dr. Collard with the operative report from Gabe's
second surgery. To top it all off, while Gabe was recovering from his
second surgery, Charter stopped paying Gabe his weekly benefits and sent
him a letter firing him. (I filed suit as a result and charter now disputes
Unfortunately for Charter, their strategy of denying necessary medical
care backfired when I filed a hardship on Gabe's behalf. After the
hardship hearing, the judge not only ordered Charter to pay for Gabe's
second surgery, but also ordered Charter to pay an additional 25% as sanctions
for their unreasonable defense of Gabe's claim. Charter was ordered
to pay $73,344.55, which included $19,362.21 payable to Mark Cantor as
sanctions for attorney fees and expenses. Charter must also pay the weekly
benefits that Charter terminated, plus 25% as sanctions each week, and
we have filed a civil suit against Charter for their retaliatory termination
of Gabe as well.
Harbit puts forward an outrageous position to deny a sexual assault in
T.H. v. Sonic Drive-In of High Ridge.
Worker's compensation doctors are hired to testify to outrageous positions
that are carefully crafted by the employers, defense lawyers, and insurance
companies. A prime example of this tactic is evidenced in another case –
T.H. v. Sonic Drive-In of High Ridge.
A few years ago, I represented a young woman that was raped in the men's
bathroom of the Sonic where she worked. I successfully tried the case
before the Division of Workers Compensation in Crystal City Missouri,
the Labor & Industrial Relations Commission in Jefferson City, Missouri
and The Eastern District Court of Appeals in St. Louis. At every level,
the judges agreed that my client was raped at work. Nevertheless, the
Employer/Insurer defended the case with the outrageous position that T.H.
was not raped - even though the offender had plead guilty to five counts
of child molestation, sodomy and other heinous sexually devious crimes.
After his guilty pleas, I went to his jailhouse in Jefferson County and
made him testify for his deposition in the workers compensation case where
he denied the rape and started screaming obscenities at me.
Throughout my work on the case, the employer maintained their outrageous
position that my client was not raped. The employer even went so far as
to hire Dr. Melissa Harbit - a "forensic psychiatrist" - to
testify at trial. Dr. Harbit swore within a reasonable degree of medical
certainty that if there was a rape, the rape did not cause any permanent
psychiatric disability. The trial was necessitated by the extreme fact
pattern and the employer's unreasonable defense, and we prevailed
at her hearing and at all appeals.
The case is regularly cited in Missouri for a significant procedural victory
as well: the employer in a work comp case has a limited time to file an
answer, and when Sonic failed to file in time - probably because they
were busy concocting their disgraceful defense - they effectively admitted
every fact alleged in T.H.'s claim. That included her average weekly
wage, which was pleaded as the maximum allowable under Missouri law. So,
even though my client's PTSD prevented her at trial from remembering
how much she was paid, Sonic's late answer cost them: the Court of
Appeals found that since no evidence of wage had been presented, and wages
are factual allegations, my client was entitled to the maximum weekly
rate, and not the minimum of only $40.00 per week. So, T.H. received nearly
$65,000 more due to Sonic's blunder. Now, every injured worker can
allege they were paid the maximum weekly wage, and a late answer binds
the employer to that amount.
While the work comp claim was being tried and won, we concurrently filed
a civil lawsuit against Sonic for premises liability and secured a separate
policy limits recovery for our client for her injuries relating to the
These are just a few stories to illustrate what can occur in a workers'
compensation case even with vigilant representation. We have represented
thousands of injured workers and routinely help people who have been injured at work.
You likely need our help if you see the following common fact patterns
in your case:
Workers' compensation accepts the claim and pays for your surgery. Your surgeon evaluates your disability at 1%., and the insurance adjuster
and the lawyer offer you 5% disability to resolve your case. You are probably
being cheated and the adjuster and lawyer in tandem are deceiving you
by offering more than the paltry rating, but much less than the full value
of your claim.
Workers' compensation insurance accepts your claim and pays for your
surgery. The surgeon provides the surgery and then issues a final opinion
that your condition is not related to work, but was caused by pre-existing
conditions (like arthritis or degeneration) and rates your disability
at 0%, and you are being cheated. You are entitled to permanent partial disability - and if your employer
paid for your surgery, they know that already.
A nurse case manager goes to each of your medical appointments and asks
the doctor to release you from medical care. You feel the nurse and doctors
are working against you. Under Missouri law, an employee is entitled to bring his own physician
to any examination by a work comp doctor, which helps to keep work comp
doctors honest. Also, we can stop the nurse from speaking to you at all
or being there for your examination.
Your employer tells you not to file a claim and that you should use private
insurance and he will pay your co-pays. The employer reminds you that
he pays your health insurance and encourages you to use your own health
insurance rather than to use your workers' compensation claim. You
finish treatment and the employer takes the position that you had no work injury. Here, you are being deprived of other benefits afforded to you, like
temporary total disability (if you are taken off work) and permanent partial
disability (the lump sum awarded based on your injury).
You injure yourself at work, and you are worried that if you file a claim
you will be fired as a result of pursuing your workers' compensation claim. Many people have this fear, but the only way to protect yourself is to
actually file the claim. Missouri law protects workers who pursue their
rights under the workers' compensation law, so unless you file a claim
you are not covered by this law.
The employer argues that you violated a safety rule and that the violation
caused your injury. Employer alleges that you were high on drugs or alcohol at the time of
the injury. Missouri's employer-friendly laws allow severe penalties
against workers for safety violations, but barely punish employers who
routinely place their workers in unsafe situations.
You have a severe injury of a delineated body part, such as an amputation
of the end of your first finger. Your pointer finger is valued at 30 weeks
of pay, and employer tells you that is the maximum value of your injury. Your employer is being dishonest and, a complete amputation is worth 110%
of the body part; and I have never seen anyone lose a part of their finger
without it affecting their entire hand or causing disfigurement, pain,
or additional psychiatric disability. Don't underestimate the value
of psychiatric permanent partial disability - it is real and compensable.
You are injured in a car collision case while at work and someone tells
you that you only have a civil law suit. That is not true - you also have a workers' compensation claim and
that workers' compensation claim should be filed first. When you win
your comp case, and later win your civil case, you may have to pay back
some money to the work comp insurer, but there is nevertheless an advantage
to filing both claims.
You are friends with your employer and you are worried if you file a claim
they will not be able to get insurance. That is not true: Missouri has insurance available for any employer who
has five or more employees, and employers are required to comply with
workers' compensation laws.
You are released to light duty and the employer assigns you a job that
seems abusive or unfair or wants you to work beyond the medical restrictions. These employers are jeopardizing your health and well-being, and you are
not required to work beyond the restrictions. If no work is available
within your medical restrictions, you are entitled to weekly benefits
while you recover from your injury, and the worker's compensation
insurer knows that law so don't be cheated.
If you have a
workers' compensation claim in Missouri or Illinois,
call Cantor Injury Law at 314-628-9999.