WHAT IS MY WORKERS COMPENSATION CASE WORTH?
One of the biggest single factors affecting the value of your workers'
compensation claim is this: What medical evidence supports your
injuries or disability from employment?
BUT REMEMBER... The Workers' Compensation Judge is generally not
willing or able to sift through the volumes of medical notes, records
and diagnostic reports documenting your care.
THE JUDGE RELIES UPON THE ATTORNEYS to create a formal record, including
trial depositions of the appropriate medical expert witnesses. This
means that it makes a huge difference whether or not your attorney is
truly a skilled and aggressive advocate for your case.
YOUR ATTORNEY NEEDS TO PREPARE YOUR DOCTOR AND ASK YOUR DOCTOR JUST THE
RIGHT QUESTIONS IN A TRIAL DEPOSITION. In this way, a skilled
lawyer can maximize the points in
your favor, while minimizing any problem areas. An experienced
and savvy lawyer can even find ways to convert problem areas into
positives for your case. All of this is hugely important to the
goal of creating a strong record which highlights the favorable
elements that help your case, while deflecting problem questions on
YOUR ATTORNEY NEEDS TO HAMMER THE INSURANCE CARRIER'S MEDICAL WITNESS
ON CROSS EXAMINATION, to again highlight the elements in your favor and
to expose any weaknesses or untruths an insurance company doctor may be
trying to push for the insurance carrier who hired him.
Many factors affect when and how much an insurance
carrier (or self-insured employer) will pay in settlement of your
claim. These factors are so various that no list can include them all,
but they will often include:
A truly gifted
workers' compensation attorney will carefully review every element of
the available medical evidence with an awareness of what points can be
used for you and what points must be deflected or converted to your
benefit, and will orchestrate the medical witness testimony in such a
way that the formal record, reviewed by the Judge, favors your position
not only adequately, but dramatically. This is how workers'
compensation cases are won. It is also how I make clear to insurance
carriers the extent of their exposure, driving home the point that the
settlement of your claim must be for its full proper value.
- Are you on compensation, or
merely pursuing a claim for same?
- If on compensation, for how long have you been receiving same?
- What ongoing treatment are you receiving?
- What are your diagnoses in relation to the work injury, according
to your treating physicians?
- Is there strong support for long-term disability in your treating
- Are there objective diagnostic studies which support, or refute,
your work-related diagnoses?
- What description of injury has been acknowledged, if any, by the
- What is your past medical history?
- Have you admitted and discussed your past medical history
consistently with all doctors?
- Do your medical records suggest any credibility issues?
- Are there elements in your records which might make the Judge
regard you unfavorably?
- Have you attempted to return to work at any time?
- If so, what was the result?
- Is the employer able to present fact witnesses to dispute the
circumstances of your injury, return to work efforts or availability of
light duty work?
- If so, how credible is the employer's evidence?
- Is the employer asserting you have been fired for cause?
- How big is the difference between what the insurance medical
expert says you can do and what your own doctor would allow you to
- Is there a pending offer for return to work, for full duty or
- Have you testified before the Judge?
- If so, how clearly were you able to make your case? How well did
you stand up to cross examination? How consistent was your testimony
with the other available evidence?
- Who is the presiding Workers' Compensation Judge?
- Who is your attorney and how hard and effectively can the
insurance carrier expect him to fight back if they try to "low-ball"
you on settlement?
- Will the attorney you hire fight this out himself, with all his
expertise, or will you settle for a firm where the managing attorneys
farm every element of your case from one young associate to another,
- What do the Doctors have to say?
The above considerations are far from a complete list of the factors
affecting the potential settlement value of your claim. However, all of
these factors can be influenced by the competence, experience and
aggressiveness of the workers' compensation attorneys you choose to
represent you. The attorneys who represent the insurance carriers and
employers know this very well, as do the insurance company adjusters,
who often control the purse strings. These guys know me.
They have seen, in case after case, the significant influence that
strong, competent and unrelenting legal advocacy has on the settlement
values they must approve. I am proud to enjoy the reputation,
acknowledged even by Workers' Compensation Judges, of an attorney who
fights to obtain the maximum and proper value for every case I settle.
I am very selective in the cases I take, so that I maintain a case
volume sufficient to allow me to remain intimately, aggressively and
actively engaged in every case, and to litigate circles around any
2008 Tim Kennedy