Settlement can be one of the most opaque and difficult to understand aspects of the workers compensation claim process. Facts such as your employer's ability to accommodate your restrictions, the nature of the injury you suffered, local job availability, your own education and skill level, etc, all factor in to the determination of a settlement's value. Any settlement in Tennessee will be reviewed by a workers compensation specialist prior to approval, but the specialist is only there to catch a truly unconscionable settlement - one that outrageously favors the employer over your rights. This is why you have made a solid decision to seek the assistance of a professional. Accurately calculating settlement values requires both knowledge and experience in the field. Without understanding the value of your claim, you are at the mercy of the adjuster who is drawing up the paperwork.
A good workers comp attorney should be able to talk to you and help explain the process. A big part of my job is simply keeping my clients informed of what is going on and helping them understand at what stage we are in the claims process.
Ignorance is an outstanding reason to hire an Attorney for your legal matter. Many Attorneys limit themselves to one or two fields so that they can specialize. WC will generally provide you with Medical Treatment, Temporary Disability while you are unable to work, and Permanent Disability for your loss of motion/capacity. Some states have provisions for Retraining if you cannot return to your prior position. Your settlement can close out all of your benefits for an additional sum if you prefer to take charge of your own future treatment/training, etc.
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Sounds like you should consult with Attorney Martin as soon as possible. This may be your first and only workers compensation case, and the adjuster your dealing with has the experience of dealing with 400 such cases a year and a team of available insurance counsel, nurse case managers, and vocational counsellors. Dont delay in hiring counsel. Your lawyer will first make sure that your actual workers compensation award is correct, and that your rights are protected, and that you have reached a point in your medical condition where it is approproate to settle. Planning and grooming a file to get proper value is often needed, and you have a considerable life expectancy in front of you. Think ahead. Whatever your settlement amount and plan, it needs to be forward looking for lost-wage replacement AND future medical needs. Please do not try to handle this on your own.
Charles W. O'Donnell, Esq.
The Law Offices of Charles W. O'Donnell, P.C.