We receive calls from potential new clients who ask various questions including, but not limited to: what are their rights; where can they obtain medical care; and how much is their case worth? While the first two questions can be easily addressed, the last one is not as easy to answer. If you have spoken to an attorney who tells you exactly how much money your case is worth, you should proceed with caution and consider speaking to another attorney right away.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows that there are numerous factors affecting a case’s settlement value. Obtaining information is crucial when formulating the insurance company’s exposure. An attorney would be doing you a disservice if they told you how much your case is worth without knowing the facts.
First, the attorney needs to review past and present medical records. Factors such as prior injuries, surgeries, underlying conditions and contributing factors play a large role in evaluating a case. For example, you might need a surgery, but there is a hindrance to the procedure, possibly a heart condition or diabetes. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows the workers’ compensation carrier must treat the hindering condition until such time as it is safe for the injured worker to have the surgery. Such benefits can increase the value of the claim exponentially. Had the attorney not know this, would the “guarantee” have been anywhere close to the true value of the case?
Second, the attorney must know the players. To be blunt, some insurance companies, and some insurance company attorneys, are cheap. Some insurance companies simply do not pay full value for cases. Knowing the parties is essential to recovering the full value of the case. How much less might the estimate for settlement be once the attorney learns the players?
Third, the attorney must get to know you, the injured worker. No matter what the attorney believes a case is worth, a client’s actions make the value go up or down. Though a case might have a high value based on a recommendation for care, that value may be unrealistic if the injured worker refuses care, endlessly delays treatment or intentionally misrepresents prior medical history. What once was a case with high value may not be worth as much today. Did the attorney know this information when telling you what you will receive?
Obviously, attorneys have an idea of what a case may be worth, possibly based on what prior cases similar to yours have settled for, but to advise an injured worker that they can receive an exact amount without knowing the facts, the players and you, the injured worker, is a serious indication that you should run for the hills, fast.
If you or a loved one has been injured or hurt at work, call one of the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt today. We have more than 50 years combined workers’ compensation experience and can help you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled under the law. Call us for a free and confidential consultation at 1-877-We-CAN-HELP.