Settling a workers’ compensation or disability claim is a complex process. The best time to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation law firm is at the outset of your case, as soon as possible after injury.
As we have discussed elsewhere on this site, two of the most important factors in your case are your choice of law firm and your choice of a treating physician. Your physician will decide the extent of your injuries and disabilities. Using an experienced law firm to select physicians with a track record of sticking up for the rights of injured workers can help ensure you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled.
Still, it’s common for injured workers and their families to not reach out to an experienced work injury lawyer in New Orleans, Covington or Raceland until they have questions about a settlement offer from a workers’ compensation insurance company.
At Wanko Law, we focus exclusively on fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families. We believe everyone has the right to experienced legal help at each stage of their case. That’s why we offer comprehensive and confidential reviews of settlement offers and we make a promise to each of our clients:
“If we cannot get the client a better settlement, we will not take any fees or expenses.”
We believe this risk-free arrangement for our clients and potential clients is the best way to keep their needs and best interests at the forefront of everything we do.
Workers’ compensation insurers often use impairment ratings, Functional Capacity Evaluations and determinations of Maximum Medical Improvement to determine settlement offers, despite the fact that a disability or impairment ratings is typically not required by Louisiana workers’ compensation law.
This is a complex process, each step of which can have a significant impact on current and future benefits, as well as any settlement offers a workers’ compensation insurer makes to an injured employee.
Impairment ratings are usually determined during a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). This rating is often used by the insurance company to determine monetary awards (i.e. settlement offers). However, under Louisiana law, an impairment rating is not used to determine Supplemental Earnings Benefits, Temporary Total Disability benefits or Permanent Total Disability benefits. Rather, this impairment rating percentage is used to determine a monetary award under LA R.S. 23:1221 for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits, which concerns cases of amputation or loss of use of parts of an injured employee’s body.
Workers’ compensation insurers use teams of adjusters, investigators, analysts, attorneys, nurses and other medical and financial experts to limit the cost of each claim. The more serious the injury, the more senior and experienced the team assigned to your case. Seeking help from an experienced work injury attorney in Louisiana can help prevent injured workers and their families from negotiating each step of the process at a significant disadvantage.
Insurers make settlement offers to limit costs and eliminate administrative expenses associated with ongoing claims and litigation. Generally there are two types of settlement offers:
Compromise settlements: Insurers often challenge aspects of care and rehabilitation for a multitude of reasons, from allegations an injury or treatment resulted from a pre-existing condition, to challenging the necessity or costs associated with a chosen treatment provider. These types of disagreements are typically resolved through compromise settlements.
Lump-sum settlements: These settlements are aimed at locking in costs and settling a claim through a discounted, lump-sum payment in exchange for a full and final release of the workers’ compensation insurer from any future claims or liability associated with your injury, rehabilitation or disability.
As a routine business practice, insurers push for low payouts and steep discounts at each stage of your case, and use experienced legal and medical experts to prove their case. It’s the job of your work injury lawyer to counter these claims with equal expertise and experience, and superior arguments.
The reality is that settling a claim is always in the best interest of an insurer, even when the settlement reflects the full value of the claim. Eliminating the possibility of being financially liable for future medical complications, and reducing the cost and overhead of administering your claim, are of substantial benefit to insurers, without unfairly lowballing injured workers and their families with steeply discounted settlement offers.
If you have been injured, call day or night for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 985-202-9907.
Indemnity/Lost Wages — weekly payments based upon your average weekly wage; you will receive 66% of your average weekly wage capped at a maximum rate
Medical and/or Death — covers all necessary and reasonable medical treatment, including doctors visits, diagnostic tests, hospital stays, surgery, physical therapy, etc.
Mileage Reimbursement — travel related expenses to and from health care provider, pharmacy, etc. Vocational Rehabilitation program designed to retrain you in an attempt to return you to work for your previous employer, or find new work.