United Airlines (UAL) employees are talking and social media chat rooms are buzzing about the potential change in workers’ compensation administrators. For about 20 years Gallagher Bassett has been administrating the claims for benefits due to occupational injuries also known as “occupationals”, “OJI” or workers’ compensation injuries. Typically, an administrator provides claims adjustment services that include the investigation and processing of injury claims and payment of weekly workers’ compensation income benefits known as temporary total disability (TTD) and authorization for medical procedures and payment of medical bills. The administrator may also, at times, negotiate settlements after the injured worker has been released from doctor’s care.
There does not appear to have been a formal notice or press release confirming that United Airlines is replacing Gallagher Bassett. There has been speculation that this may occur October 1, 2017 and that the new claims administrator will be Sedgwick Claims Management Services.
Helpful Advice for the Injured Worker
So what does the change of administrators mean to the injured United Airlines flight attendant, pilot, mechanic or ramp services worker? Fortunately, the change of administrators does not mean that your case can be closed from a legal standpoint. However, with the change of administration companies and also the transfer of your file from one claims adjuster to a new claims adjuster very likely will result in potential delays, such as:
• Delays in accepting the initial claim
• Delays in authorizing medical treatment
• Delays in payment of TTD monetary benefits
• Delays in payment of medical bills
• Delays in negotiating and paying settlements
• Files may even be inadvertently “closed”
Interruptions in your workers’ compensation pay and medical benefits may cause unnecessary stress, financial hardship and delay your ability to return to work. The following tips are recommended to protect your benefits in your case:
• Keep documentation of all communications between you and your claims adjuster
• Closely monitor all benefits, including TTD paid via direct deposit or via check
• Confirm with your doctor’s office that authorization has been provided for your treatment and that your bills are being paid
• Obtain copies of all off work slips, ESF forms and doctor’s prescriptions or orders to personally send to the new claims administrator
• Consider hiring an attorney experienced in claims against UAL
There Are Many Advantages to Hiring An Experienced Attorney
Attorneys experienced handling cases on behalf of United Airline workers should receive information about the new claims adjusters on an expedited basis. Additionally, as a result of the attorney filing your claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, your case will be assigned to the commission docket which will allow the attorney to file a motion for a hearing should you experience significant delays in your benefits and disability pay.
Our firm has proudly represented United Airlines employees for over 50 years guiding our clients through the work comp. administrator change from Alexis to Gallagher Bassett about 20 years ago, the 2002 Chapter 11 UAL bankruptcy and numerous changes in Illinois workers’ compensation laws. If you would like our help with filing a claim for you in Illinois, there is no charge for our services unless we recover money for you. Call us today at (800) 444-1525 or contact us at www.katzfriedman.com.