South Carolina Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured South Carolina Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Settlement Offer for a Shoulder Injury

    Today my lawyer called me and told me that he had sent in a settlement offer of 23,700 for a settlement on my injury. (Shoulder). I am 28 years old, with a 5% rating, no lifting over 15 lbs, no overhead work at all, can use hand for 15 minutes with 5 minute breaks afterwards. I also had a claim on my back, but it is rated at zero now with no restrictions.

    First of all, he did not even consult with me prior to sending the offer. He just called up and told me he sent the offer. I guess I should have been happy. I was not. I wanted BARE MINIMUM 20,000 MY PART, I guess he got confused and thought I meant just 20 should be fine. He should have started the offer at like 40 or 50,000 and worked his way DOWN if you ask me.

    I am in the process of finding out if my work is even going to have me back. I am working there now, but not sure how much longer it is going to last. They might let me go due to not being able to work within my restrictions. My lawyer lies to me. At first he said I would be due Loss of Earning capacity, now he is backtracking and saying that I don't qualify for it because it requires TWO injuries and I only have what amount to ONE to qualify for Loss of Earning Capacity. I don't like that he lies to me, CONSTANTLY. Which is it? One or two?

    I at first told him yes after much pressuring on his part, he called me up while I was walking through Petsmart. After the fact about 10 minutes later I called him up and told him nevermind. he tried to tell me it was "too late he already accepted it" I replied back, nothing is too late until I sign on the dotted line!

    I wrote him an email tonight and told him I want a hearing. I think my lawyer is scared to go to a hearing. He tried to scare me and told me I might only get 10% instead of the 25% they are offering now to close out the claim. I told him file the paperwork tomrorow I will come by and pick up my copy.

    The thing is he is offering up my JOB (i will resign), plus ALL FUTURE medical with a clincher agreement, plus my rating etc. Literally this will be it, and I'm only getting around 15,000 after his 33% is taken out. Does this seem fair? You all think i could get more? My weekly rate is 317. I just recently started back at work, but not sure if it's going to work out. They might fire me. He told me if they fire me I won't get anymore if it's due to me doing something bad. Well I don't DO Anything bad. If they fire me it's because they cannot accomidate me. They are trying to decide. They created a special job for me when I came back, made up a job and put me in it, COMPLETELY different than what I was doing before. new job title and everything. Shouldnt I get loss of earning capacity? This was my dominant arm

    ---------- Post added at 06:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:40 PM ----------

    I read this and realized it is confusing. See he sent the offer, then called me after the fact. At first I was mad, then after he did some talking I reluctantly agreed to it. Within 2 minutes he called back and told me they had accepted it, the entire amount. Without any negotiating AT ALL. I asked him why was there no negotiating. He told me "when a lawyer is good they don't need to negotiate, they just guess the number" . Sounds like a crock of shit to me. I then told him that settlement amount was not enough for me, and then he hemmed and hawwed and said it was too late they had already accepted it. I told him it was not too late until I signed and the ink was drying. He had nothing to say to that. Does it sound like my lawyer is a liar to you all too? I wrote an email tonight demanding a hearing be filed to settle. I am tired of the games.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    You retained an attorney because you didn't feel capable of handling this claim on your own, now you don't like the answers, so your atty is a "liar"... how would you know the difference... Is s/he lieing to you..or not?

    The PPD indemnity benefits you are awarded, based on the rating, are not negotiable...why would they pay you more than the law demands... more than likely, you will take less than the full value that if you were to take the weekly indemnity benefits.

    Whether or not you sign the clincher, and "voluntarily terminate", you are under the impression you will be let go anyway, as your ER doesn't have a permanent job for you that meets your restrictions.
    At first he said I would be due Loss of Earning capacity, now he is backtracking and saying that I don't qualify for it because it requires TWO injuries and I only have what amount to ONE to qualify for Loss of Earning Capacity. I don't like that he lies to me, CONSTANTLY. Which is it? One or two?
    Possibly you misunderstood what your atty tried to explain to you...(?) "if" you had 2 injuries, you may be due Loss of Earning Capacity... you only have one injury.
    I think my lawyer is scared to go to a hearing. He tried to scare me and told me I might only get 10% instead of the 25% they are offering now to close out the claim.
    Your atty knows the statutes, process, and you'd have to think with enough experience at hearing/trial, pretty much knows the potential outcome. Judges often take the stance of "split the baby", you give up some, the carrier pays more... neither side is ever happy with the outcome of a judges decision.
    The WC system encourages informal agreements/settlements by the parties, without the need of continuous litigation.
    I wanted BARE MINIMUM 20,000 MY PART, I guess he got confused and thought I meant just 20 should be fine. He should have started the offer at like 40 or 50,000 and worked his way DOWN if you ask me.
    Every IW would like more money, every ER/IC would like to pay less... a 'clincher' is a C&R/Compromise and Release, both parties 'compromise' on the outstanding issues... they pay you cash, you assume responsibility for the injury/treatment going forward, and 'release' them from further claims.
    It's important for IW's and attys to have a clear understanding of the process from the beginning, what an AA can actually do, what they can't.
    WC is all about paying benefits, TTD, medical, PPD indemnity, no guarantee of a cash settlement. Taking a cash buyout may or may not be in your best interests.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    BvIA, thanks so much for your reply. I will answer your questions now.

    how would you know the difference... Is s/he lieing to you..or not? Well I am not your average Joe off the street, although my lawyer thinks I am. I have a college degree and I studied prelaw. I don't claim to be a lawyer, however I am familiar with how you all research things, and I am capable of such. I am able to look up caselaw and my job requires me to search through state code all day long so I'm familar with the process. having been out of work for 6 months I have become quite well versed in WC comp code at least, I don't pretend to know a lot of caselaw, however I can certainly look it up if the need presents itself. I have caught him lying on more than one occasion, and called him out on it. he dances around it, and I let it go for the sake of keeping the peace. I may not be a lawyer, but I do have the ability to read the same cases and codes that lawyers do, and when he tells me something that sounds fishy I can look it up as easily as anyone can. So yes, I don't have to take his word for it.

    I asked him at one point, something and he told me one thing which I accepted as the truth. Later on he tried to convince me of something completely different. First it was "he sent the offer" then it was "they sent the offer" then it was "he accepted it" then it was "Well they already accepted it". He goes back and forth like a car salesman. I don't hate all lawyers I know it might sound like it from what you read me type, but I wanted to be a lawyer at one point, I have a great friend right now graduating from Georgetown in a few months. I have nothing against lawyers as a profession, but as far as mine goes I can't trust him.

    Let me tell you why BvIA. So my current lawyer is the owner of his firm. He was not my original lawyer. One night, several months back I got a call at 8:00 pm on a Friday night. It was my first lawyer giving me a new phone number, and asking me to call her ASAP because she had something important to tell me about my case. I called her back , and she told me that she was leaving his firm along with 4 other lawyers and starting their own firm. She would like to schedule a meeting with me this weekend to resign a new contract to keep me as her client. I said ok... not knowing what else to say. I asked her why. She said the firm owner was terrible but she couldn't get into it legally. I said ok... well she had appointments scheduled all weekend along with the other lawyers running all over town resigning the clients. They waiting until Friday night to do it, without telling the firm owner, so they could steal all his clients. I could hear other lawyers in the background during our call talking to clients trying to get them to resign a new contract. She was even going to come to my house on Saturday with the contract to make sure she had it signed before the office opened up monday morning. I asked her if she had a paralegal , was the office set up, she had nothing but a building. No employees or anything yet. All of this sounded VERY fishy to me. Plus I dont like how they were going about it. It's one thing to be unhappy with your boss, it's another thing to try and ruin him and steal all his clients when you leave (without giving them a choice). It should have been a mutual letter or something giving the client the option. Well I looked up the firm owners email and emailed him that night. He called me the following morning and guess what, he had no idea about any of it! He asked me who called me, wanted all the details. He agreed that it was very unprofessional of them to do that without letting him know so that they could send out a mutual letter or something of that effect.

    Anyway, so the choice I had was to choose the first lawyer who was such a snake she tried to leave and take all her clients with her on a Friday night, leaving the firm owner (the man paying for all the advertising, the office, using his good name to get the clients) or a lawyer who was such a bad boss that all his employees ditched him and openly hated him.

    I was already too far in to switch lawyers, I did call around. A lawyer I talked to told me he had heard at the courthouse the following Monday about all the drama and agreed that it was crazy. In the end I decided to stay with the firm, of the guy who got ditched by all the other lawyers. I have always been one to vote for the underdog, and I didn't like how those lawyers went about leaving and trying to steal his clients on the weekend when they were not able to call the firm and at least make an informed decision by speaking to both sides.

    Anyway, I approach my lawyer now with a fair amount of distrust. I cannot help but do so.

    Yes I realize I will get less than I think it's worth. I think my case is worth 40,000 + , especially since I am giving up my career, my job. And considering I have two approved and treated injuries (bank and shoulder) I think it could be argued that I am able to get LOEC, wouldn't you think the potiential to argue that fact exsists BiVA?

    Thanks for taking your time to reply.

    ---------- Post added at 07:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:13 AM ----------

    Also I have confirmed carpel tunnel in my hand via a nerve conduction study that was done for my neck to figure out why I have numbness in my left fingers. I got refered by the neck guy to a hand specialist and WC has not approved that appointment YET. They are trying to settle before I get the hand approved and then I would have THREE injuries, shoulder with a rating, neck/back with a zero rating and hand with ??? I think I should get more for my resignation, clincher, and injuries. The problem is I can't trust my lawyer because of all the drama in the begining, and no one I know knows anything about worker comp, so i thought I would ask on here. I saw you and others who are well versed that might be able to help me out. Normally I wouldn't post something like this, but I wanted someone elses perspective.

    I want all of this to be over and get on with my life, but I don't want to give away the farm in the process.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    I think my case is worth 40,000 + , especially since I am giving up my career, my job.
    That would be nice, and I like the way you think... however, WC doesn't pay for those "losses". You are paid based on your PPD rating.
    How does the Commissioner or the Claims Mediator decide how much I get paid for my injury?

    Your award is based on 66 2/3% of your average weekly pay before taxes and other deductions, up to a maximum amount set under the workers’ compensation law. This is called your compensation rate. In addition, many body parts have been assigned a value measured in weeks of compensation. For example, the complete loss of the use of an arm is valued as 220 weeks of compensation. Depending on the seriousness of your injury, the percent of disability or loss of use agreed to at the conference will be multiplied by the value of the injured body part and your compensation rate. In the earlier example, if we assume that the injured worker has an average weekly wage of $450, the compensation rate would be $300(66 2/3% x $450 = $300). The worker would receive $6600 for an injury that resulted in a 10% loss of use of the arm (10% x 220 weeks x $300 = $6600).

    http://www.wcc.state.sc.us/CmsPortal/AgencyPostingTemplate.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODE GUID={B0164A18-10C7-4BEE-9A40-3246B7BCF3BE}&NRORIGINALURL=/Welcome+and+Overview/faqs/&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest#inj_med
    There may be some cash added for future medical reimbursement... depends on your needs.
    You cannot calculate the potential value of your PPD indemnity until you have reached MMI and been rated. The commissioner will award benefits due.
    I want all of this to be over and get on with my life, but I don't want to give away the farm in the process.
    You are entitled to benefits based on impairment/PPD. When you cash out a claim, it's not unusual to see a voluntary termination included. There is no 'farm' to give away in a comp claim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Settlement Offer

    Quote Quoting BvIA View Post
    That would be nice, and I like the way you think... however, WC doesn't pay for those "losses". You are paid based on your PPD rating.

    I understand this, but aren't I also compensated for my perminant restrictions, not just the rating number? It was my understanding that I am


    There may be some cash added for future medical reimbursement... depends on your needs.

    Yes there is future medical clincher, so the money is included in the settlement


    You cannot calculate the potential value of your PPD indemnity until you have reached MMI and been rated. The commissioner will award benefits due. You are entitled to benefits based on impairment/PPD. When you cash out a claim, it's not unusual to see a voluntary termination included. There is no 'farm' to give away in a comp claim.
    Actually I am a gov't employee and have grievance rights. They cannot just fire me or let me go for having an accident at work. I am offered a unique protection from such actions. The state is self insured, so they can offer more in order to close out my claim and have me part ways with them as my employer, giving up my rights to file a grienvance. I am getting compensated for this, and will be required to sign a contract at the settlement which states I give up my right to sue them. So there must be some way to compensate for giving up your job.... they are doing it.

    There must be some "wiggle room" to the settlement amount considering they are offering 5x the rating amount given by my doctor.

    The hand cropped up after I was MMI from the other 2 injuries, which is why we are in the middle of the settment and also have the hand to deal with now. The bank doctor did a referal when he did his MMI of 0%. That is why it seems out of place.

    But they are most definately offering me more money to resign my employment. I am trying to get them to offer me 20,000 MY PART instead of 15,xxx my part. My lawyer called first thing this morning and we went around and around, he said he's going to try for it, and I will hear something soon. I will keep you posted if you are interested in hearing how it turns out.

    WC is not always as cut and dry as people assume. I know someone who was offered no more than 90,000 prior to going to his hearing. His lawyer tried several times unsuccessfully to convince him to sign. He insisted on the hearing, and at the hearing the comissioner changed his rating to 50% and awared him 150,000. This is all based on a 20% rating, there was no change in the rating (by a doctor), so why did the compensation change so drastically? There is most definately wiggle room.

    And again I ask, wouldn't I be entitled to a LOEC if my employer could not accomidate me and I lose my position (without settlement of course) and I have back at 0% and / or the hand is thrown into the equasion?

    It seems like my lawyer does not want to work too hard at my case, that is my concern. There are several componants to my case, and yet out of me and my lawyer i seem to be the only one concerned with them
    Last edited by bobbobly; 02-24-2012 at 07:17 AM.

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