Mar
30
2011
0

Statistical Models

Math: The best kind of witness

Math: The best kind of witness

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on a 10 year old sexual discrimination law suit brought against Wal-Mart.[1]  I was listening to a summary of the oral argument yesterday when I heard this:

Scalia added that if statistical models can replace witnesses and evidence, “we must have a pretty bad judicial system.”

I was driving at the time just about lost it.  Replacing witnesses and evidence with statistical models?  Oh, Judge Scalia, you’ve clearly never practiced in Workers’ Compensation…

  1. Photo courtesy of colodio []
Sep
06
2009
0

I Just Make It Look Easy

Easy-to-make iPhone

Easy-to-make iPhone

A company once told me someone had offered to build permanent disability calculators for their website in three months for $7,500.  One said six months and $20,000.  Recently, another suggested it would take them a year and $40,000.  My response is usually some variation on “You’ve got to take that deal.  You’re wasting your time talking to me.”

It’s no big secret that building a great product takes a lot of work.  The important thing to remember is that just because something is easy-to-use, that doesn’t mean its easy-to-make. [1]

Real iPhone

Difficult-to-make iPhone

Let’s take the iPhone for example.  Everyone will concede its an easy phone to use.  However, it was released more than two years ago on 6/29/2007. [2]  In that time the other players – BlackBerry, LG, Nokia, and Palm have all been trying to catch up.  If this easy-to-use phone were easy-to-build everyone would have their own version.

Look, there’s no special magic to building a website like this.  Really, anyone can do it.  All you have to do is learn the calculations inside-and-out, deconstruct the math involved in the various calculations, learn some client and server side programming languages, learn a content management system, make it all work together, keep current on changes in the law, start all over again each time the law changes, and earn the respect of the workers’ compensation community.  Once done, you’ll have your very own workers’ compensation calculator website!

To return to the lesson of the iPhone, building a touch screen phone that can play music and surf the web is totally doable.  Doing it right is another matter entirely.

  1. Visit the link for a PDF of a cut-and-fold iPhone.  Thanks Gizmodo! []
  2. Wikipedia link. []
Sep
01
2009
0

Its not you, its me

Dont worry, its not your fault

Don't worry, its not your fault

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a beta tester, Jeff Duarte, who was having trouble with one of my calculators.  He said that he didn’t really understand how to use a particular calculator.  My response was:

The problem is not you, its me.  :)  If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions.

Seriously – sorry Jeff, its my bad.  My goal is to make these calculators so easy and intuitive to use that no workers’ compensation professional would have any trouble figuring out how to use them.  If you don’t figure out how to use it just by looking at it, I designed it wrong. [1] Getting feedback is a very important and instructive process for me.  It lets me figure out what works for people and what doesn’t.

The good news is that Jeff”s suggestions have given me an idea on how to make two calculators easier to use and for two entirely new features!

So, send me an e-mail if you have an idea on how I can make a calculator more intuitive, easier to use, or just plain work better!

The problem is not you, its me.  :)  If I designed my calculator better you wouldn’t have any questions!
  1. Photo courtesy of TreMichLan.  Terrible pun – all me! []
Aug
14
2009
0

ANOTHER NEW Calculator!

PDRater: Making EAMS more user friendly!

PDRater: Putting a friendly face on EAMS!

I’ve just built  another new workers’ compensation calculator.  Actually, it is a look up tool that will help workers’ compensation professionals file documents with EAMS.[1]

While I think the recent Verify!® social security number validator may be more intriguing for defense attorneys and claims examiners, I think this new EAMS tool will probably be more useful to Applicant attorneys.

Interested?  Just drop me a line to become a beta tester!

  1. Photo courtesy of Irene on the run []
Aug
06
2009
0

Ogilvie: the finger pointing begins

I think we can dispense with the caption, just this once...

I think we can dispense with the caption, just this once...

A defense attorney friend of mine called me up yesterday to say (I’m paraphrasing here), “You jackass.  Thanks to your Ogilvie proof every Applicant’s attorney I know is calling me up, gloating, and asking for 18 points on top of the whole person impairment on every case!  Why the hell did you do that???”[1]   My first thought was of my favorite quote from Swingers.[2] What I actually said was something along the lines of:

For the moment, let’s set aside the issue of whether California’s injured workers have gotten a raw deal since SB899.  Suppose there’s an injured worker with a finger injury, stays on temporary disability for two years, and is immediately made permanent and stationary.  If instead they get a 0% WPI, they get nothing.  If they gets a 1% WPI, Ogilvie tells us this person gets a DFEC adjusted WPI of 19%.

Nearly every litigated case involves an extended period of temporary disability and a whole person impairment less than 45.[4Ogilvie effectively removes the first 18% permanent partial disability levels.

I really don’t think the WCAB intended this consequence.  Don’t get upset with me – as long as Ogilvie is the law I might as well make Ogilvie calculations easy for you, right?[5]

  1. Photo courtesy of giuliomarziale []
  2. Just for you Ray! []
  3. And save $129.99 in the process []
  4. Hell, a permanent irreversible coma is only a WPI of 80. []
  5. Remember, just add 18 to the WPI! []

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