Calculating the value of your case and how a work comp attorney can get you more
We’re frequently asked by new clients about the value of their workmans comp cases. The truth is, every case and client is different, so a lawyer can’t assign a value without knowing several important factors. Read on for what determines the value of a workmans comp case.
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A. The amount of a workers compensation settlement will be based upon how much the insurance company anticipates paying on the claim.
You should be very cautious of any lawyer who promises a specific sum of money. Do not rely upon stories from friends or relatives about how much their workers compensation case was worth. Every case is different and must be evaluated on its own merits. This cannot be done without reviewing medical records and having a face-to-face meeting. A good workmans comp attorney will also tell you when settlement is not right for you.
Q. What will my attorney need to know?
A. An experienced workmans comp attorney will need to know your age, the extent of your injury, and the cost of any future medical care. Other important factors include how much you earned at your job and your past work history. It is helpful to provide any medical records that you may have and a recent pay stub.
Q. Can I calculate the value of my case?
A. The value of your case is based upon future workers compensation benefits. But this is not an easy number to calculate, because there is usually some dispute as to the extent of your injury and whether you can perform other work.
This is a business decision for your employer and its insurance company. They will look at the cost of wage loss benefits and medical care to determine the amount of money that they will have to pay out in the future. Sometimes if you ask for too much money, the insurance company would rather go to trial
and take their chances losing the workmans comp case.
Workers compensation settlements are usually calculated by taking your weekly wage loss benefit and multiplying that number by 52. This gives you an estimate of how much the insurance company will have to pay per year for wage loss benefits. The value of a settlement can also be increased if you can show that you need additional medical treatment. Remember that all medical treatment must be reasonable and necessary for your work injury.
Q. Is there an average workmans comp settlement?
A. Again, every client, injury and accident is different. And the strict laws in Michigan have recently made it more difficult to collect workers compensation. But according to statistics published by the Workers Compensation Agency, the average workers compensation settlement in 2010 was $65,868.14.
Some workers compensation cases are stronger than others and it’s important to recognize the issues in your particular case. For instance, if you can do another job or have little need for future medical care, your settlement will be worth less money.
Q. Can having a lawyer increase the value of my case?
A. Absolutely. Sometimes it takes the threat of a tough lawyer to get fair value on your case. An experienced workmans comp attorney will be familiar with the insurance company and
defense attorney. Having a good relationship with these individuals can make all the difference in the value of your case.
The best way to increase the value of your workers compensation case is when you hire a prepared lawyer who understands the Michigan workers compensation laws. You must be prepared to go to trial if necessary. This means the attorney will have to take depositions of doctors and vocational experts.
Q. What if I receive a settlement offer?
A. Sometimes an employer or insurance company will make a small settlement offer because they are betting that you are in financial trouble and need the money. DO NOT accept any settlement offer without talking to a good workmans comp attorney first. You will always get a larger settlement with an experienced attorney on your side.
Have questions about the value of your workmans comp case?