Episode 6: Louisville workers’ compensation attorney Ched Jennings is joined in the studio by his client, Kevin. Kevin was a Local 70 ironworker, in Louisville. He was badly injured in a fall, resulting in his being totally disabled. After 20 years of prescription narcotics, under the care of his doctor, he contacted Ched and they worked with the doctor, a workers’ comp judge and a terrific program. Kevin no longer needs the medication and wants to tell others about how Ched helped to change his life.
The Jennings Law Offices
Ched Jennings has spent decades practicing law and supporting injured Kentucky workers. He’s represented clients from across the state. He’s seen many different types of workplace injuries ranging from relatively minor, to career-ending and even injuries resulting in fatalities. The system is there to support workers who have been injured on the job, but sometimes it’s a fight to get the benefits the person is entitled to under the law.
Disclaimer: Please note, there is no guarantee of results. Each claim involves its own facts and situation. The outcome of your claim may vary.
One of the first things you should know about Kevin is that he was extremely motivated to get off of the narcotics his doctor prescribed to help him deal with the pain resulting from his injury and related surgeries. It all begins with a mindset of perseverance and commitment.
As a Local 70 ironworker, Kevin was working on the job in 1997, when he fell from a scissor lift. He sustained significant injuries to his head, back and neck. While not paralyzed, his injuries and the medication did have a dramatic impact on his life. He was not able to return to work. The Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits provided a safety net, including lifetime medical treatment.
However, anyone who has been on prescription narcotics for an extended period of time can tell you how it can lead to depression and related problems affecting your relationships with your spouse, children and those around you. Kevin was ready to change that and find a way to move forward.
It Was a Team Effort
Ched and Kevin discuss how important it was to have the right team involved. Kevin strongly credits his pain management provider, Dr. Lawrence Peters. He was the one who recommended a specialized program at the Mayo Clinic. The cost of this program was significant. Judge Stephanie Kinney was extremely helpful in working to get this program approved by the insurance carrier. She understands the struggles endured by what are typically referred to as “legacy injured workers” in the workers’ compensation system.
The Injured Worker’s Disadvantage
One challenge for injured workers is that the insurance company has a right to reopen the case and to dispute the need for specific types of treatment. When this happens, the injured worker may need to find an attorney to continue the fight for his/her benefits. This can place the worker at a financial disadvantage.
As a former Commissioner of the Department of Workers’ Claims, and as an attorney who has practiced for the past 45 years, Ched is extremely familiar with the plight of legacy injured workers.
Kevin credits Dr. Peters for many years of compassion and care. It was Dr. Peters who recognized and advocated for how Kevin would benefit from the Mayo Clinic’s 30-day program.
Unfortunately, many injured workers don’t fully escape the pain resulting from their injuries. Over time, the body adjusts to the dosage levels, often requiring the physician to increase the levels. At the time Kevin began weaning off of the narcotics, his prescription levels were astounding. This made it difficult for him to be actively engaged with his family and friends. It impacted his outlook on life. Worse yet, the pain was still present.
Convincing the Insurance Company
For the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, it often comes down to math. Ched was able to successfully negotiate the realization that after 20+ years of paying for expensive prescriptions and related care, the cost of the Mayo Clinic program and Kevin’s life expectancy if they didn’t do something different, the math worked in their favor if Kevin was successful in this program. Judge Stephanie Kinney understood it. Eventually, the insurance company and their adjuster approved it.
The Mayo Clinic’s Program
Kevin describes the program. He admits, heading up there, he was scared. How would he be able to handle the pain without the medication? He explains how they go into a lot of details about a successful approach to pain.
It’s an intense program focused on many aspects, including ways to minimize pain through exercise, proper posture, lifting groceries, etc. They also taught him the value of meditation, yoga and stretching. It’s a very comprehensive approach to effectively dealing with pain.
Ched comments that another aspect of the Mayo Clinic program is how they work to change the injured person’s attitude. Kevin’s outlook is much more positive. He doesn’t focus on what he can’t do, but rather on what he gets to do.
Kevin also share comments about how the program helped to change the relationship he has with his wife. Because of his healthy outlook without the need for prescription narcotics, their relationship has dramatically improved. It’s also improved how he interacts with his kids and grandchildren. It’s a fulfilling quality of life.
Ched Recommends this Program to Other Attorneys
It’s been almost 3 years since Kevin completed the program. Ched points out that this is another sign of a successful program. It all comes down to the attitudes. It requires a motivated individual, good doctors, engaged judges and an insurance company willing to consider the overall benefits. Ched believes the system owes this opportunity to our legacy injured workers. It’s a team effort.
Closing Remarks from Kevin
Kevin wraps up this episode with a few comments. If you’re on a high-level of medication, it’s no kind of life. There is help out there. It’s okay to be skeptical, but it changed Kevin’s life. Get someone to help you with your case. Talk to your doctor. You’ll also need a good workers’ comp attorney. Kevin explains how responsive Ched is and that he eventually became a good friend.
Do You Need a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Office Phone: (502) 583-3882>>
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Principal Office Address: 401 West Main St., Suite 1910, Louisville, KY 40202
The Jennings Law Offices doesn’t charge for phone calls. Many union stewards and others have Ched’s cell phone number. If possible, we’d like you to come to the office. For some people, that doesn’t always work. Video calls might be an option. In fact, due to the pandemic, many of the hearings and other activities are handled via Zoom video conferencing. You can do a video call from your computer or a cell phone.
That’s it for this episode. Until next time, remember, this is the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Podcast. It’s what you need to know.
Principal Office in Louisville, KY.
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