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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2021

    Default Settlement Negotiations Post MMI

    Hello all, after a year of treatment I am being offered a settlement. I can not return to my previous job due to my restrictions. My former employer has hired a lawyer to negotiate a settlement with me. Initially I was offered $50k, and after further discussion, they have raised that up to $60k. I understand that a settlement has to be considered fair by the IC, and it has to be based on actual potential values.

    Opposing council and employer believe that it should take me no more than a year to find a job that will make me an equivalent pay rate, so their offer is 1 year comp, 2-3 year medical expenses, and $5k for resume and job services. My initial offer of $266k included comp for 3 years of college training, 3 years comp, 25 years medical expenses. The attorney did her best to stifle a laugh.

    She's not including any diminished future earning capacity because they believe I will be able to earn at my previous pay level by doing phone work at home. My permanent restrictions will only qualify me for sedentary to light duty where previously my job was medium to heavy duty work. In reality if I did work at home, I would make about 25% less. I know this from a general survey of the market through job postings. So I am trying to find some statistics to use their projections with the diminished earnings capacity to buttress my offer's justification. Bureau of Labor Statistics has not been helpful because my job title is massively broad and doesn't account for specialization or work environments. There are some websites that purport to have accurate pay scales, but these are all self reportable figures by individuals and vary by up to 50% on highs and lows.

    Where or how can I get better numbers to support a long term diminished future earning capacity?

    FYI: The plan here is to get the best number possible, then shop that figure over to 2-3 comp lawyers to see if they can do better. If they believe they can, I'll take the best one I like to see how much better than can do with their customary cut above my best negotiated offer. If I get a consensus that they can't do much better, I'll settle with the best figure I can get myself. Thanks in advance.

    PS: Any WC lawyers work by the hour instead of contingency?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Settlement Negotiations Post MMI

    Quote Quoting NCguy919 View Post

    PS: Any WC lawyers work by the hour instead of contingency?
    After all you have been through now your thinking of a lawyer?....Why do you think houly would be cheaper? They still have to review everything?.............Do you buy all your own car parts then look for a mechanic to do the work?
    You sure seam to think you have it all figured out, and put no value in what a WC attorney does for a living. IMO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 1971

    Default Re: Settlement Negotiations Post MMI

    Where or how can I get better numbers to support a long term diminished future earning capacity?
    Hire a good worker comp attorney.

    Moderator Responses are based on my personal bias, experience and research - They do not represent the views of the admin nor may be accepted in the legal community, always consult an attorney.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    831 East Morehead St., Ste 355, Charlotte, NC 28202

    Default Re: Settlement Negotiations Post MMI

    Are you currently drawing a weekly TTD check? Are you doing a reasonable and diligent job search, and documenting the heck out of it? Why are you in such a hurry to settle? I typically recommend to my clients that they allow the facts to develop fully before attempting to settle.

    Your strategy of negotiating and then hiring a lawyer after you have gotten their "best number" may backfire on you. Every time you give them a demand number, you are effectively capping what a lawyer might be able to get for you in the foreseeable future. It is better to hire a lawyer before you screw it up for yourself. Many workers' comp lawyers in NC will carve out a written offer you have in hand from their contingent fee calculation if they are able to settle your case without litigation. But in your case, getting an ongoing award, if you do not already have one, may be the best strategy, and then settle later when more facts develop. Do you have an ongoing "award" from the NCIC? This is very important.

    They are not including anything for diminished earning capacity because you are speculating about that. You have no proof of it, apparently. Hopefully you are doing that job search full time and keeping meticulous records of all aspects of it. The way you prove ongoing disability in a NC comp case is by showing through your job search that you cannot find a job due to your injuries, restrictions and pre-morbid conditions such as educational level attained, work history, specific job skills, location, overall health, etc. In some cases the testimony of a vocational expert (often hired by the Plaintiff) is required to elucidate this factor.

    What kind of future meds does the ATP say you need? Unless there is a very clear recommendation of some further and specific treatment, "future meds" does not usually account for much of a settlement. The fact that you are at MMI means that no treatment is currently recommended or needed. And future meds would be paid based on the heavily discounted NCIC fee schedule, since that is what the carrier would pay if you did not settle.

    Was your AWW calculated correctly? Often, it is not. Make sure they are not shorting you on that.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by complwyr; 07-15-2021 at 03:09 PM.
    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 and Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law

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