I fall from stairs on work injured my right shoulde,wrist and back.I was treated only for shoulder and wrist,after I took attorney after almost 2 months workers comp.doctor send me t Mri which showed that I have degenerative disc disease and dismiss me back to work evn though I was barely walking.I did not go to work,I went to primary dr. who order mri s again showing L4-L5 herniated disc wit annular tear on lumbar spine and cervical C5-C6 muscle spasms.I went to physical therapy,could not do nothing which physical therapist also confirmed than I try Pain Managment epidural injections whch made me worse.I spoke with Pain Managment Dr. and primary Dr. both agree to go on consultation for surgery.I went to Bonati Spine Institute where they done ablation of nerves,discectomy and fascetomy.I had 3 surgries on my back ,scheduled for 4 th surgery for which Dr. said if it does not succeed than I will have to put screws in my back.Ct Scan showed spondylosis with disc herniation on L5.I send Mri s from workers comp Dr. and primary Dr to Chicago to Medical Experts to compare my Mri s and they agree that I have disc herniation,spondylosis with annular tear with neuroforaminal stenosis.Workers comp.insurance denied my claim after their Dr.said I have DDD since than I m in the workers comp sistem almost 1 year and half.I have attorney for which I m now really concerned because he knows other attorney who represent insurance company.We had 3 mediation and they offer me low balls not even to pay or return my money.I am scheduled for hearing now and the same day mediation,my attorney thinks it s good deal to accept offer over 100K so that he will ask from insurance to cover his expenses.I would like to hear Your opinion regarding this.Thank You in advance
I am sorry to hear about your troubles. What exactly is your question? Hopefully you are being excused from work after your consultations with the subsequent doctor visits.
Please keep in mind that communication through this website does not in any way create an attorney-client relationship.
It sounds to me like, more than anything, you are simply concerned that taking the offer to settle that's on the table might not be in your best interests. That's a valid concern for anyone in your position. You should understand, though, that a public board like this is not a good place to hash that out.
First, your attorney knows far more about your case than anyone reading your posts here, which is how it should be, including the details of your medical condition(s), the skill and reputation of the doctors involved in your case, and the defenses that the carrier has raised to your claims. Second, you commented about what your attorney thought was a "good deal to accept" for settlement. You really shouldn't tell the world (which could include your claim's adjuster or defense attorney) what your attorney told you in confidence. Once the attorney-client privilege is waived by your disclosure, it's gone forever.
Rather than asking readers on this board, if you are concerned about accepting a settlement offer, set an office conference with your attorney and bring a list of questions you want answered. For example, make the attorney explain the specific strengths and weaknesses of the "major contributing cause" defense that it appears the carrier has raised. Ask which medical records support which side of the MCC argument. Ask, if trial were in 60 days, what evidence would the attorney need to get right away to overcome the weaknesses in your case (for example, would you need an IME? any depositions? what about an EMA?). If there is any evidence that the attorney hasn't pursued yet, find out why. As for the $100,000, ask why that seems like a reasonable number. Ask the attorney to estimate the carrier's total "exposure," then ask why s/he thinks that compromising is better for you than keeping the case open. Ask about Medicare involvement. Ask about possible Social Security disability benefits.
In short, make the attorney make you feel comfortable that, by agreeing to settle, you'd be making an *informed* decision. If your current attorney can't/won't do that for you, then you should consider changing attorneys. GOOD LUCK!!!
Do not be disappointed if you do not receive any answer here to your question as to whether this settlement offer is a good deal for you. I find that the attorneys answering questions here on Avvo are very knowledgeable but suspect that none of them have enough information to really answer your question. I know that I would have to read your entire case file and medical records before I would be able to give you any advice on whether they offer is a good one. Your attorney would be the best one to discuss that with. As far as your attorney knowing the attorney for the insurance company, that is a familiar complaint, particularly in workers' compensation law. As I explain to my clients right up front, if you are an experienced workers' compensation lawyer, you will have a lot of experience with the small group of lawyers who represent workers' compensation insurance companies and will know them well. Also, we may serve with them on local bar committees and other legal groups. If both your attorney and the workers' compensation attorney for the insurance company are experienced in their fields, the odds are very good that they will know each other well and that is nothing you should worry about. I know attorneys who act like they do not know the attorney for the workers' compensation insurance company and they tell me that their clients like that. I tell them that that is playing games and I refuse to do it. I am honest with my clients and warn them that the attorney for the insurance company has been involved with other cases with me and if we meet at a mediation or something he may make small talk or shake hands or something and our knowing each other professionally has no bearing on my commitment to representing my client. As far as an attorney trying to get the insurance company to pay his fee on top of the settlement, you cannot do that in Florida. I imagine what your attorney was talking about was getting the settlement amount higher so that once he took his attorney fee out of it you have more left and the insurance company would not pay your attorney fee to your attorney directly but would just increase the settlement amount by that much.
Disclaimer: the above does not constitute legal advice and is only an opinion of the author as to current law. You should consult an attorney with questions about your particular situation.
I'm not earning any points for answering this Q as you've already had 3 lawyers answer, BUT I have to put my two cents in when I see a case like yours. I handled workers comp cases like yours for over 35 years and always gave my clients clear and precise communcation with answers about what would happen in their case and how much we were going for and the pluses and minuses and my overall strategy. Any decent WC lawyer will tell you these things in private. Make an appointment and bring a list of Qs. In Florida, either a worker has a little case or a big case....there are no middle-sized cases. You are entitled to nothing for pain and suffering and undergoing 3, 4 or 20 surgeries!!!! Yes, you read that right. The sole determining factor is whether you'll be able to go back to work doing sedentary or light work after you reach maximum medical improvement. If you can do such work, you have a little case. If you can't you have a big case for permanent and total disability. Ask your lawyer what he or she is doing to ensure that you'll have a big case for PTD. Most claimants who've undergone 3 surgeries have other issues such as: insomnia, anxiety, depression, weight gain or loss, sex issues, etc. If your lawyer has not addressed these issues with you, that's a red flag that should make you worry. A good lawyer would have obtained recommendations from your doctors for you to consult with various other specialists for such problems: a psychiatrist, psychologist, a urologist, etc. These other specialists can help prove a case for PTD. Be courteous and be polite with your lawyer but be firm in asking these Qs NOW for later may be too late!!!
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