Had corneal transplant, and cannot return to being a mechanic due to this injury. He will NEVER see the same, and has to have continuous medical care on his eye. Now one year later, worker's comp is talking about settling. He doesn't have a lawyer, and is trying to understand how negotiations with them work. They are talking close to six figures, but with the information that we have been compiling the fair settlement should be about three times as much. How should we handle this?
Your bother does NOT need for you to ask a question in an online forum, he needs for you to help him find an experienced local WC attorney to provide him with his options. He may be entitled to a wage differential if he can no longer perform his trade.
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" He doesn't have a lawyer, and is trying to understand how negotiations with them work."
Which he probably WON'T understand without the lawyer he should have retained some time ago. HE should contact his state and county bar associations for referrals.
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I agree with my colleagues. This stuff is not a DIY project. He needs the assistance of a good workers' comp lawyer at this point. Without one he is simply shooting in the dark.
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Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Settling a serious Workers' Compensation claim without a lawyer is a mistake. There are various issued involved. For example: What about future medical coverage for his eye? What about future issues with Medicare and/or his health insurance? Will the settlement effect a future Social Security Disability Claim? What is the fair value of the claim? How much would the Commission give him if he went to a hearing instead of settling?
And a larger question: Why is the insurer so suddenly interested in settling?
The answer to your question is your brother should consult with a workers' compensation attorney immediately. If he is worried about the fee, and assuming it is a Maryland Comp Claim, the fee is:
1) Only collectable if and when the attorney obtains money for the client;
2) Capped by statute (usually 20% and in this case maybe even less than 20%), and;
3) Cannot be collected by the attorney until it is approved in writing by the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission.
Furthermore, if your brother just wants to sit down and talk to a workers' comp lawyer, the consultation should be free.
Ask your brother what he thinks of people trying to fix complex mechanical issues without any training and I think he will see the issue clearer.