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Need advice on if I have the right Work Comp attorney?

Knoxville, TN |

I fell at work back in January 2013 on ice and hurt my back. The company was clearly negligent for designating an icy sidewalk as a path for employees to walk on. I was one of seven that fell. I whiplashed which resulted in a protruding disc T3 which I was told was inoperable. My back (upper) has been hurting ever since. I also had some neck locking problems as well. MRI confirmed these injuries. I was sent to a physiatrist by the neurologist and went through two months of therapy. I reached my MMI today. My attorney told me initially that on a protruding disc I would get 50,000 max and 5000 min. How is that true? I've read verdicts and settlements where people received 100,000+ for this injury. Does this sound accurate or should I start looking for someone new?

Attorney Answers 3


Employer negligence is irrelevant. Docs don't operate on discs in the thoracic spine; it is too dangerous. A protruding disk is usually not long term disabling. Ask your lawyer to show you how to calculate what you would get in the case, and explain it. I don't think there is any need to change lawyers simply because you have read of a "verdict" (that is what a jury renders, so there is no such thing in workers' comp cases) where someone got > $100K. I have settled back injury cases for anything from $2500 to over $250,000. It all depends on the particular facts of each case, and your current lawyer is in the best position to evaluate it for you. So sit down with him and ask him to explain it to your satisfaction.

This answer is intended as general information and not as specific legal advice. If you want to have a free consultation with me, please contact me through AVVO.

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I agree that you should sit down with your atty and have the atty explain how the numbers work out. You potentially have a claim against the property owner of the building ( if that is not your employer.) Ask your atty about this also because that claim can have a higher value depending on a lot of different circumstances that are too numerous to go into here.

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Under Tennessee law, fault is not part of the way that work injury cases get handled in most cases. The value of a work injury case is different from other personal injury cases. First, workers' compensation cases do not compensate you for pain and suffering. The value of a work injury case is the severity of harm to your ability to work. It has little to do with whether you have suffered. Second, workers' compensation law places artificial caps on the amount you can receive for work injuries. Those caps come courtesy of pro-business legislators who pass laws favoring employers. In work injury cases, the particular cap depends on whether you were able to return to work successfully or not for the same employer. Major drivers of the value of your case are: 1) your impairment rating; 2) your benefit rate (which is based on your average weekly pay history; 3) your return to work status.

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