GEK Partner Sherry Grant Educates the Workers' Compensation Community
In order to best represent an injured worker, a Workers' Compensation attorney must not only know the law, but must also master the medicine involved in a person's permanent disability, which is one of the key ways compensation gets paid. That fact was made perfectly clear during attorney Sherry Grant's panel presentation to hundreds of workers' compensation professionals at a recent convention of the California Applicants' Attorneys Association (CAAA).
Grant, a partner in the law firm of Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK) was asked to speak on the panel addressing creative ways to get the best determination of an injured worker's permanent disability, especially when the industrial injury or illness prevents a return to the person's usual and customary job, or to any work at all. She was asked to teach the legal and medical community how to first fully explore the medicine and only then address the effect on the worker's ability to return to work. As she explained, "You must understand and fully explore all the medical conditions and all the ways the person has been disabled that are directly related to the industrial injury or illness. Only then can you analyze how the industrial factors of the injury or illness directly impact a person's ability to return to their usual job, need accommodations, or are permanently totally disabled."
But, it gets complicated! As Grant explained: "You have to rebut the Permanent Disability Rating Schedule, which has been incorporated into the state law to measure permanent disability in California, because it is very imperfect and not very generous. There are methods you must know to get a higher, more accurate and complete rating. To do that, you need to learn the medicine, carefully compare a person's pre-existing non-industrial factors of disability to the after-effects of the industrial injury or illness. Then if a person cannot go back to his or her usual job, or cannot go back to work at all, compare any pre-existing work limitations (or confirm there were none) to what they can no longer do because of the industrial injury or illness. You must completely understand and explore the medical impact, and the way the permanent partial or total disability limits a person's ability to engage in the labor market."
It is those complicated concepts that Grant simplified and justified during her presentation and response to audience questions. And she was the ideal person to do so as she co-authored the "Pearls of the AMA Guides, 5th Edition," an important resource for accurately getting to the best permanent disability rating. And also, because one of the several cases commonly cited in proving a person is permanently totally disabled due to an industrial injury or illness was a case she personally litigated for her client Maria Sampson, cited as Maria Sampson vs. State of California Dept. of Social Services.
As one of GEK's founding partners, Grant continues to remain on the forefront of the Workers' Compensation system, fighting for the rights of injured workers. Her expertise and dedication are widely known as evidenced by what a fellow presenter, attorney Bert Arnold of Boxer Law in Northern California, shared with Grant: "Sherry, you are so knowledgeable and thorough and I really wish I had the opportunity to watch you work. I'm sure you strike fear in the hearts of defense attorneys when you show up at the Board."
Grant, alongside her fellow GEK attorneys share the same expertise and vigilance in their crusade to ensure that those hurt at work receive the full range of benefits to which they are entitled. And, they all plan to continue to do so on behalf of their clients!