Hurt while working for the US Forest Service/Umpqua National Forest/Roseburg, OR on 10/9/2017 (double hernia), hired as an "AD" Driver during the 2017 fire season. I'm a federal retiree, receive SSA and have been supplementing my retirement income driving during fire season since 2012. My injury was accepted by the UD Forest Service and US DOL/OWCP. I finished the 2017 fire season w/o missing any time and started working again on 7/13/18 when called back and worked until 8/19/18, I had surgery on 8/20/18. As far as I know all my medical bills have been paid for by the federal government, but have not received any loss of wage. I have completed all requested paperwork, including CA-7's every two weeks. I have not been denied loss of wage, but have not received loss of wage. My forest service and DOL/OWCP claims representative(s) have changed frequently with both agencies do not communicate with me. I would like to receive loss of wage from my surgery date of 8/20/18 to an acceptable date earning what I was making prior to my surgery (2 weeks prior would be acceptable) and a scheduled award for my injury and any other entitlements or compensations due. Please advise if you or someone can help. Thank you, Gary Benson
Federal Workers' Compensation Case Analysis: Claiming Loss of Wages and Entitlements
Based on the details provided, Gary Benson, a federal retiree, has been working seasonally for the US Forest Service. While serving as an "AD" Driver during the 2017 fire season, he suffered a double hernia injury. Although all medical expenses related to this injury have been compensated by the federal government, he hasn't received any loss of wages post-surgery.
Relevant Legal Provisions
- Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA)
- U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP)
To ensure compensation for your loss of wages:
- Maintain continuous and thorough communication with your representatives at the US Forest Service and DOL/OWCP. Though representatives might change, always ask for written communication for tracking purposes.
- Seek legal representation if you haven't already. Find the right lawyer who specializes in federal workers' compensation to advocate on your behalf.
- If necessary, consider appealing the decision of the OWCP. This process can be done with the assistance of an attorney or on your own, but legal representation is recommended.
Average Legal Service Costs in Tacoma
Based on Tacoma's average legal service prices:
|Service||Average Cost in Tacoma|
|Initial Consultation||$150 - $300|
|Filing a Claim with DOL/OWCP||$500 - $1,000|
|Legal Representation (Hourly)||$200 - $400|
|Appeal against OWCP's decision||$1,500 - $3,000|
|Scheduled award for injuries negotiation||$2,000 - $4,500|
Note: Prices can vary based on the complexity of the case and the reputation of the attorney. Some attorneys might also take a percentage of the awarded compensation instead of hourly fees.
Need More Information
To provide more precise guidance, a more detailed understanding of your case would be helpful.
Don't hesitate to ask a free legal question if you're unsure about your next steps.
Relevant Questions to Consider:
- Have you received any formal communication, denial or approval, regarding your loss of wage claim from OWCP?
- Was there any documentation (like an employment contract) that specified your wage during the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons?
- Have you been in touch with any legal professionals about this matter? If so, what was their advice?
What is the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA)?
The FECA is a federal law that provides compensation benefits to civilian employees of the United States for disability due to personal injury sustained while in the performance of duty or due to an illness caused by employment.
How do I know if I qualify for loss of wages under FECA?
To qualify for loss of wages, the injury or illness must have resulted in a wage loss. You will need to provide proof of your wage before the injury and proof of reduced wage (if any) post-injury.
Can I appeal if my claim for loss of wages is denied?
Yes, if your claim is denied by the OWCP, you have the right to appeal the decision. It's advised to have legal representation during the appeal process.
How long does the appeal process typically take?
The duration of the appeal process can vary. It might take several months, especially if there are complexities involved in the case. Legal representation can help expedite the process.
Are there any other benefits or entitlements under FECA apart from loss of wages and medical expenses?
Yes, FECA provides various benefits including compensation for permanent impairment due to the injury, vocational rehabilitation services, and benefits to survivors in case of work-related deaths.