Cashing the check will only give the insurance carrier credit against its ultimate obligation to you. It will not prejudice you in any way. You should contact an attorney about a possible loss of earning capacity claim, and do not sign any type of agreement until you've done so.
There is nothing in the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation (WC) Act that allows the employer to require that the employee travel to and from a WC-related appointment with a company represenatative. Further, neither the employer nor its representative (including a claims adjustor or nurse case manager) has a right to be present during a WC-related medical evaluation. The sole rights of the employer or its WC insurance are to obtain medical records related to the injury and send the employee to an...
Your worker's compensation (WC) attorney should be able to advise you whether a personal injury (PI) attorney is needed in addition to the representation he/she is providing. Under section 102.29 of the Wisconsin statutes, there is a formula that provides how settlement proceeds are allocated if you make both WC and PI claims.
Whether you need to retain an attorney depends to an extent on whether the insurance carrier pays your TTD benefit for every week you're out of work and pays the PPD (permanent disability) rating your doctor assigns at the end of medical treatment. If you do consult an attorney, two claims you may want to discuss are: 1) vocational retraining (if you cannot return to work due to permanent restrictions); and 2) disfigurement (depending on where the scars are at on your arm).
It is critical to get an opinion, preferably from one of the doctors who has treated you, that the work exposure is what has caused your lung condition. The doctor who provides this opinion will want/need to see a list of the chemicals in your work space (in the past and through the last day of employment) before rendering that opinion. You will want to confer with an experienced Wisconsin worker's comp attorney as soon as possible.
It is unclear to me whether you have a WC hearing or an OSHA hearing set, but sounds like WC. If you do not have an attorney, you should hire one promptly, as the issues can be more complex than they appear to a lay person. An attorney can help you evaluate the risks and benefits of going to a hearing vs. settling.
Cases that are being heard in places other than Milwaukee or Madison hearing offices take longer to get scheduled for hearing. The WC Division can give your attorney an idea of how soon the case will be set for hearing, but only after a Certificate of Readiness has been filed with the Division.
Under Wisconsin law, the insurance carrier should have begun to pay within 14 days of its receipt of the PPD rating. You probably have a claim for a delay in payment (10% of the delayed payments). If they have no reasoable and god faith explanation for the delay -- and if they have known of the PPD rating for 30+ days -- you may have a claim for bad faith (200% of the delayed payments).
It appears that you may well have a loss of earning capacity claim under Wisconsin law, assuming that you have permanent restrictions due to the neck (vs. the shoulder) injury. You should hire an experienced Wisconsin WC attorney to review the permanent limitations and the results of any Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) report that has been prepared.
The situation you are facing is complex, and an attorney would want to explore with you the specifics of who the company doctors are to whom your employer referred you. You should retain an experienced Wisconsin WC attorney to advise you in the near future.