I got into a major car accident. The other driver was at fault. I sustained 2 fractures on my leg, which required surgery. I'm now on crutches, and will require physical therapy for the next 2-3 months. I had worker's comp cover my medical bills, the physical therapy and loss wages. My lawyer told me to go ahead with the worker's comp claim. But now he's telling me to cancel worker's comp, because if I don't I won't get any money back from the settlement. He says worker's comp will come for all the money. The thing is I need the loss wages, and the physical therapy. Is there any way to go around this situation. Is my lawyer accurate?I don't feel comfortable with him now after everything he has told me. can I switch lawyers and hire a lawyer who will be able to get me a better settlement and also treatment for my broken leg and totaled car
This can be a very complicated situation. I would sit down with your lawyer and have him explain the inter-relationship of the benefits and what would work best in your situation.
Schedule an appointment with your lawyer, sit down with him, and ask him these questions, as well as for an explanation why it appears that he has changed his recommendation to you. No one on this site knows the details of your case as well as your lawyer, and he likely has a good reason to give you this advice. If you do not understand what he is telling you, make sure he knows that, and keep asking questions until you do understand. Also make sure you explain what your priorities are to your lawyer. One of the most important elements of a good attorney-client relationship is communication.
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This is a complicated situation with many legal, financial, and personal interests at stake. You need to take the time to really sit down with your lawyer and go over everything to make the best decision for yourself.
You have a lawyer and should sit down with that lawyer and go over the options. Have the lawyer put them in writing to document for both you and the lawyer what is being done and why. What you are saying doesn't make complete sense which is why you need to meet with the lawyer. Ordinarily, especially with a serious injury, I would advise my client to pursue workers' comp first. Workers' comp are guaranteed benefits and medicals for life. Rarely would I want the client to give that up. In those rare circumstances, the liability would need to be good and the at fault party would need a very large insurance policy or deep pockets. After you finish (and sometimes during by agreement) the workers' comp matter, the workers' comp carrier is generally willing to work with the attorney to resolve the third party claim against the at fault party. If they do not work with the attorney it is usually because the potential for future treatment is high in which case you definitely want the workers' comp protection. I can think of circumstances where not filing workers' comp may be the best thing for you. For example, If the employer failed to have workers' comp insurance you have a choice to sue employer or pursue workers' compensation through a special fund. Therefore there may be a reason to forgo workers' comp, so talk to the lawyer. Get reasons in writing.
You would want to retain a lawyer that handles both workers compensation and personal injury, that can handle both and negotiate down the liens. Avvo has a great lawyer finder tool to locate an attorney close to your home. Good luck.
In my view you go after the worker's comp. Sure, worker's comp will want to be paid back out of your settlement with the auto accident, but their claim can be compromised. Worker's comp will place a lien on your auto settlement but those claims are reduced. I do this all the time. My advise is to grab what you can now.
My guess is that the driver you are making a claim against has minimal insurance coverage. Workers comp will have a lien against your settlement money. That medical lien could eat away at your settlement proceeds. Yes you can switch lawyers but that won't change the situation, if I'm right. Sit down with your lawyer and have him or her explain their reasoning.
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Whether to pursue the Workers' Compensation claim is a complicated analysis that is dependent on the facts of your case. The workers' compensation carrier has a lien on any settlement of the third party claim, but the permanency award for fractures requiring surgery could be significant. The lien can be negotiable and must be reduced by a pro rata share of attorney's fees and expenses.
Schedule an appointment to sit down with your attorney to discuss this issue. In most cases where the injuries are serious, it is good idea to pursue the workers' compensation case first and then the automobile accident claim later.
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In California, we would pursue both. Sure the work comp may have a lien in the PI case, but you can negotiate that to some extent, and you still get the money you need now, and if the PI recovery exceeds the work comp claim, you get the extra. Plus even if you drop your work comp case now, they will still have a lien for what they have paid out so far. I would talk to your lawyer and have him spell out why he wants the work comp case dropped.
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You can switch lawyers, but your current lawyer is entitled to assert a statutory lien against your settlement proceeds for the reasonable value of his services to date, which means your new lawyer will have to pay your old lawyer a fee out of your proceeds. This is generally not a big problem, and is commonly worked out between the lawyers so as to not unduly affect your net settlement; however, if not addressed properly (or if your old lawyer is unreasonable) then the two legal fees could exceed the original retainer percentage, thus reducing your net recovery. I have never advised a client to forego workers' compensation benefits when available. What you need to know, however, is that you cannot settle with the other driver's insurance company without notifying and involving the workers' compensation carrier, because under Maryland law the workers' comp carrier is entitled to be repaid all benefits they have paid to you resulting from the accident. It is common, however, for there to be a reduction in the workers' comp lien to allow for a percentage of your legal fees as well as costs incurred by you to pursue the claim. This is a routine matter, and I am surprised your lawyer has a problem with this; however, perhaps I am not aware of some relevant facts. Question your lawyer about it, and if not satisfied, contact another lawyer for a second opinion.
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