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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Why is My Worker's Comp Settlement Offer Far Less Than I Think is Fair

    Hello all, My case has been going on for 2yrs now and at first my lawyer, was all eager and firing away, but now after the mediation I just had. I'm Wondering.... I've had 2 back surgeries and have had total fusion still in pain. They say I can't work anymore. We'll anyway went to the mediation had a very nice mediator, and then it was time to get started , so the opposing att started off at 1000.00 lol, thats crazy right, we'll my attorney said well ask for 40,000,00 lol, lol its not to funny for me, but it seems a little low. At first my atourney said this case is well worth around 800,000 to 900.000. Why are they lowballing me? My Biggest Question is this: My court date is a month away, so there is no way to get another attorney at this point, is there? its been 2yrs since injury at work. I think my Attorny has been paid from the other side and selling me off cheap what yall think? And he said when we go to trial and we win then the other side probably will appeal it. An appeal takes 3yrs he said is that true. And he said after 3 yrs I'll lose my case. Sounds to me he doesnt want to put any effort in my case or somethin, but gees i need a new attorny.

    Can some1 please help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Mount Hope, KS
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Can a Lawyer Be Bought Out by the Other Lawyer

    You don't have to settle until you're happy. Your attorney cannot settle or approve any figure without your approval. Does the settlement include future medical, training? Find out what similar cases in your area have settled for, I mean do some actual research, not just ask people. Your state should have a table of injuries for settlement impairment, compensation.
    Anyone can be bought, I ask him outright, are you acting in my best interest?
    Without knowing what state you reside in I really can't comment further, laws vary so much from state to state.
    Take care,
    Joan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Can a Lawyer Be Bought Out by the Other Lawyer

    Unless you have a significant injury and rating, upwards of 70%, it would be unlikely your claim/injury to be worth anywhere near 800-900K. There just isn't than kind of money in day to day injury or claims settlement.

    The indemnity, or number of weeks payments you receive is based on the rating, those are pre determined by law.
    There isn't much you or your atty can do to change that but get a doctor to find you rated to a higher level of PD/impairment.

    Other than the indemnity, the value of future medical may be included in a lump sum settlement, that too is not going to be ''big dollars''...your atty has not 'sold you out'., but there is only so much an attorney can do to increase the amount of money you are potentially to see in a award/settlement.

    There is no law that requires a lump sum settlement... the carrier is free to let the indemnity pay weekly, and leave the medical open.

    If you post your state, maybe more can be provided... it would be a good idea if you were to make yourself familiar with what benefits are available in your state... and what benefits are not open to you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Can a Lawyer Be Bought Out by the Other Lawyer

    Quote Quoting bodybuilder1958 View Post
    You don't have to settle until you're happy. Your attorney cannot settle or approve any figure without your approval. Does the settlement include future medical, training? Find out what similar cases in your area have settled for, I mean do some actual research, not just ask people. Your state should have a table of injuries for settlement impairment, compensation.
    Anyone can be bought, I ask him outright, are you acting in my best interest?
    Without knowing what state you reside in I really can't comment further, laws vary so much from state to state.
    Take care,
    Joan
    ty very much for the time and effort to help. I live in Alabama unfortunately

    Quote Quoting BvIA View Post
    Unless you have a significant injury and rating, upwards of 70%, it would be unlikely your claim/injury to be worth anywhere near 800-900K. There just isn't than kind of money in day to day injury or claims settlement.

    The indemnity, or number of weeks payments you receive is based on the rating, those are pre determined by law.
    There isn't much you or your atty can do to change that but get a doctor to find you rated to a higher level of PD/impairment.

    Other than the indemnity, the value of future medical may be included in a lump sum settlement, that too is not going to be ''big dollars''...your atty has not 'sold you out'., but there is only so much an attorney can do to increase the amount of money you are potentially to see in a award/settlement.

    There is no law that requires a lump sum settlement... the carrier is free to let the indemnity pay weekly, and leave the medical open.

    If you post your state, maybe more can be provided... it would be a good idea if you were to make yourself familiar with what benefits are available in your state... and what benefits are not open to you.
    And also ty very much sounds like yall know alot about this stuff (alabama) is where i live unfortunately

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Can a Lawyer Be Bought Out by the Other Lawyer

    I would 'never', say this 'never' happens... I do not believe however there are as many times as we read about on a message board. Because claims don't go the way of a one hour TV drama, or a claimant doesn't get a favorable decision does not mean the attorney's have struck a deal.

    With the cost of a legal degree, and the minimal fee structure in most comp claims... a AA/applicant atty would be a fool to engage in the shennigans suggested here.... DA's are paid by the hour... 200...300$ in many cases. DA's love nothing more than AA/IW disputing every/any issue they can. Just means more billable hours. AA is still left with a fee %, and awarded by a judge. DA's don't need any 'approval' by any judge...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Can a Lawyer Be Bought Out by the Other Lawyer

    $800K - $900K for a comp case in Alabama is absurd. I am sure that your lawyer has explained to you the difference between "permanent partial" and "permanent total" impairment in Alabama. It is a HUGE difference. No one can give you any idea of the value of your case without reviewing your entire file and more specifically, knowing your impairment rating, weekly wage and many other factors. Unless you are "permanent total", meaning 100% impaired, $800K-$900K is laughable, maybe even then.

    Your lawyer has a vested interest in getting as much money for you as possible as he is getting a percentage. In Alabama, he is getting only 15% by law so he is more motivated to get as much money as possible. I am sure that lawyers get paid off here and there but in my opinion it is extremely rare.

    In Alabama, you can discharge your lawyer any time you choose. However, the lawyer is going to have a lien for a reasonable amount of attorney fees for the time he has expended. After two years I would expect this amount to be significant. I would say it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to get another lawyer to take a case a month before trial when there is going to be an attorney lien that may eat up a significant portion of the attorney fee.

    As others have said, your case cannot be settled without your consent. In fact, you would have to appear in court for the settlement to be approved and the Judge will ask you after the terms of the settlement are outlined, "is this what you want to do" or something along that line. If you don't agree to a settlement then the case will be tried to the Judge and the Judge will decide what you get and except for an appeal it doesn't matter whether you agree to it or not.

    Hope that helps even though I know it's not what you want to hear.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    2,959

    Default Re: Can a Lawyer Be Bought Out by the Other Lawyer

    In a word, NO, I think is is highly unlikely that anyone has tried to buy off your lawyer.

    The insurance carrier offered you a thousand bucks to settle, correct? Was that the last offer at mediation, or the first offer? If it was the first offer, then it is meaningless.

    But if it was the best offer at mediation, then it probably means that you have a factually poor case and therefore you have a big problem. You need to find out from your lawyer, before the hearing, why the other side thinks your case is such a loser.

    I don't practice in Alabama but I have practiced comp law in another southern state for close to two decades, and that $40,000 that your lawyer was trying to get for you sounds a lot more reasonable to me than your $800,000 expectation, which is not reasonable under almost any imaginable fact pattern.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

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