My injury was 30 months ago, and we've gone back and forth getting virtually nothing done. Now the paralegal in charge of my case won't return my calls.
A settlement offer of 30k was made before Christmas, and although I didn't believe I was at MMI (At the time, I refused to accept that nothing more could be done) I told the paralegal to tell the attorney that I would settle for 40k, which would mean 30 for me and 10 for him- and that I would just seek treatment on my own since I don't feel like they are doing anything...
So here it is three plus months later, and I have heard literally nothing from the attorney at all. In January I called their office, and the paralegal said she didn't think that the lawyer would present the settlement offer to the claims people without first personally discussing it with me, but he himself is never available to discuss anything with! I had an appointment in January for a telephone conference with him, and when I called in for the appt, he was 'running behind' and would me as soon as he could. Still haven't heard from him.
I've called the lawyer's office 10 times in the last month, and no one is returning my calls....
As far as my condition and treatment-
Now have a pain management doctor I feel is providing the best possible options for pain relief (FINALLY) and I'm coming to terms with the fact that this may actually be as good as I'm going to get.
If I were to settle the case right now and endure the costs of treatment myself, it'd run about 200/month in meds and 200/month in dr. bills. Plus the doc would like to try steroid shots, (which I don't know about yet, but its a possibility) that would cost about 300/each.
My questions are these:
#1- I have already received about 15k (11k to me, 4k to the lawyer) in TTD payments, in one lump sum about a year ago- that amount was 'back pay' for the payments they hadn't paid me in the beginning. IF I settle now for any amount, is this 15k that I've already received deducted from the settlement amount? In other words, if we agree to settle for 30k, does that mean that I'll get 30k more now, or only 15k since I already got 15k?
#2- Is 30k a reasonable amount? Seems awful low to me- Before the injury I earned approx 18k/ year, and I haven't worked that job since Oct 2008- and I cannot perform that job anymore. One doc has rated me with a 15% full body functional disability, while "their" dr still says not their fault, not work related,etc etc etc., but even if so, there'd be no more than 5% partial.
#3- In general, how are settlement amounts determined? My future medical expenses could potentially be $3500/yr or more for the rest of my life. I am not quite 39 yrs old now. I was a custodian at a high school, and I will never be able to do that kind of physically demanding occupation again. I am not totally uneducated, but don't have a college degree -- but I do live in a small rural area where manufacturing jobs and fast food are about all there is. Also, before the injury, I was enrolled in online classes, (and wasn't able to complete them so my financial aid was withdrawn. ) but I don't know that between the pain and the medicine I could deal with classes again to learn new skills, etc. I'd like to apply for SSDI/SSI, but I have kept hoping that I would get better enough to work full time again and figured I'd wait to see how this case worked out. As it seems, the working full time thing is not going to be an option, so....
#4- Once I determine what I think is a reasonable amount that I personally will settle upon, what is the best way to let this good-for-nothing attorney know that this is what I want him to do- I figured that sending a certified letter would be best. But then on to the next question
#5- IF this no good attorney doesn't want to settle for me, or doesn't return my calls and letter, and if I decide to fire him- how would I go about firing him and getting a new lawyer? And would this first one still get a cut of anything I get?
Ok, lots of questions I know. I've never had to go through all of this before, and I'm just sick to death of dealing with it- I feel like I could find better care and treatment without th red tape and waiting associated with work comp., and the only thing holding me back is money, which could be resolved by a settlement.
any help from those experienced in this BS would be greatly appreciated!!!