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Settlement questions

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Unread 03-09-2011, 04:41 PM   #1
72daywmn
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Default Settlement questions

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!!!
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Unread 03-11-2011, 01:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72daywmn View Post
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!!!
Every injury, every w/c case, and every state is different. Without knowledge of your injury, whether you had a rating, and the laws of the state, it is hard to help you with your questions. As for your unresponsive attorney, I would contact the state bar association and see if they could help. Or send your lawyer a certified/return receipt letter asking your specific questions and asking him to contact you within a reasonable period. That way you have a paper trail to document his lack of response.

Good luck . . . sounds like you have your hands full . . .
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Jo*mar (03-15-2011)
Unread 03-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #3
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Just from my own experience with wc and a RSI/TOS injury - mild & manageable now that I'm not working, with expert chiropractic care and my own self care.

I had a so so hard to get a hold of wc atty, and I still got 30k.
the limit for wc atty here is /was 22 or 25% but topped at 5k.
so you might check your state website for details on your % and limits.


I do think if you will need ongoing pain control and injections - 30 k is low low low...

My negotiations was supposed to be a hearing , got there for the hearing and my atty says how about nego for a settlement - he hadn't even discussed anything either way so I was stunned.

He essentially said one of my drs wasn't a very good with the evidence - they had interviewed the wrong dr! and not my ongoing treating dr..
So I was more or less messed over , and my atty admitted he had blown a disk and was hurting and on meds so he wasn't up to snuff either.

So I said OK ask for 50k ( thinking - I've been off work for 2.5 yrs already) - always ask for way more than you expect...but not an outrageous amount .

so anyway it ended up at 30 or 32k. atty got 5k of it for not much work...

Run some numbers /scenarios and see what you come up with for totals
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Unread 05-19-2011, 01:20 PM   #4
72daywmn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo*mar View Post
Just from my own experience with wc and a RSI/TOS injury - mild & manageable now that I'm not working, with expert chiropractic care and my own self care.

I had a so so hard to get a hold of wc atty, and I still got 30k.
the limit for wc atty here is /was 22 or 25% but topped at 5k.
so you might check your state website for details on your % and limits.


I do think if you will need ongoing pain control and injections - 30 k is low low low...

My negotiations was supposed to be a hearing , got there for the hearing and my atty says how about nego for a settlement - he hadn't even discussed anything either way so I was stunned.

He essentially said one of my drs wasn't a very good with the evidence - they had interviewed the wrong dr! and not my ongoing treating dr..
So I was more or less messed over , and my atty admitted he had blown a disk and was hurting and on meds so he wasn't up to snuff either.

So I said OK ask for 50k ( thinking - I've been off work for 2.5 yrs already) - always ask for way more than you expect...but not an outrageous amount .

so anyway it ended up at 30 or 32k. atty got 5k of it for not much work...

Run some numbers /scenarios and see what you come up with for totals

Sooooo......I've been consulting with the lawyers since getting a new pain management doc (who is WONDERFUL btw- FINALLY!). The new doc re-recommended the epidural steroid shots, which believe it or not they agree to pay for! (I go for my first one next week!) And the doctor wrote this long letter for me to my lawyer, recommending the shots, re-recommending a discogram to evaluate for lumbar fusion, re-recommending evaluation for a SCS, - it's VERY good for me this letter ;-) and the lawyer says that "they" (the other side) have not gotten the whole letter yet but were only asked about the shots....but today I get a letter in the mail from the lawyer that "they" are now offering 40k.

Before Christmas, before preparing for the steroid shots, before this letter from the doc, before even having this good pain management doc, I had asked for 40k. mainly because I was struggling to provide for the holidays, and thought if they'd agree quickly, I'd find relief on my own since nothing was being done. NOW, I've got the dr saying I'll need these series of shots, and back to suggestion of surgery, which obviously would cost more than 40k.
So, is 40k reasonable, or do I hold out for more??
Then, if I did agree to the 40k, is that on top of the back pay TTD lump sum that I got last Spring after the judge ordered them to pay me, or do I deduct that TTD amount from 40k and now receive the remainder????

Thanks for any help!
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Unread 05-20-2011, 12:13 AM   #5
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[So, is 40k reasonable, or do I hold out for more??
Then, if I did agree to the 40k, is that on top of the back pay TTD lump sum that I got last Spring after the judge ordered them to pay me, or do I deduct that TTD amount from 40k and now receive the remainder????

]

I don't know about the TTD or how the future medical might work out, I hope someone else can help with that, but your atty really should be the one to explain those details to you so you can decide on any next steps.

Each case, state, laws are so individual, not to mention attys & judges & drs.

mine was just a straight forward - sign here and we'll pay you x amount and you are on your own after that.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
72daywmn
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Well, I haven't been on here in a long time, mainly because I just haven't had anything going on. I've finally found a decent pain management doc, so my pain levels in general are not excruciating most days, although the meds do leave me quite exhausted, as many here can relate!

Anyway...the last post I made here about this I questioned the settlement offers and process, and I have since spoken with my attorney who advised that we are absolutely not going to settle for such a low amount. His advice was that in my state (KS) a back injury is "worth" so many weeks worth of my pay multiplied by the percentage of my task loss. He did a rough 'guess-timate' which amounted to almost twice my former employer's work comp folks' last offer, and my lawyer says that is the worst case scenario, based on about a 30-50% task loss.

So...today I went to see a doc for an IME and impairment rating, and he says I am "un-employable" (His word!)
He said I am 100% disabled, cannot perform more than 4 hours of activity a day, with no constant movement or activity, no twisting, bending, pushing or pulling and no lifting more than 5 lbs at any time, and that I need to switch from sitting to standing to reclining or laying when and as often as needed, therefore I cannot do any sort of work. WOW. He straight out told me to apply for SSDI.

I am torn in my reaction to this. On one hand, I am not even quite 39 years old yet, and it is quite disheartening to think about being an invalid at my age. I'd much rather be able bodied than rich, but...on the other hand, since I am clearly not going to be able bodied again, it is nice to know that this could significantly help my case.

At least, either way, this is finally, after almost 3 full years, nearing an end,
and I just wanted to share that with my friends here!

Thanks to all for your advice and listening abilities!
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dd in pain (08-09-2011)
Unread 05-13-2012, 11:16 AM   #7
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What was the ultimate outcome after a one year.
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Unread 05-14-2012, 12:39 AM   #8
72daywmn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AS7873 View Post
What was the ultimate outcome after a one year.
It took a grand total of just over three years for my case to be settled. My back is no better, but essentially never will be from what I'm told as I am apparently not a candidate for surgery (I didn't really want surgery anyway, but might have considered it if it would've eased some pain). But I am finally on a decent regimen of pain medications that provide relatively satisfying pain control (I stay at about a 5/10 on the pain scale most of the day, which is tolerable most days. Sometimes there are uncontrollable spikes, but for the most part I am able to tolerate the pain I have without biting anyone's head off!)

Anyway...after 3 years, we finally settled by case for just under what my state's maximum is...In KS, the cap is 100,000 including any TTD that was paid throughout the case. I received $15k in TTD, and settled in the end for another $75k. After the attorney's cut, doctor bills, court costs and whatever other misc fees, I ended up with $50k at the end of the case, for a grand total of about $90k. Was it worth it to settle for $90k total instead of going to court some more to try for $100k that I may or may not have gotten? ABSOLUTELY.
I wish, wish, wish, wish that my back were better, or that I had some outlook of someday it being better to where I didn't have to need pain meds every day all day, but we can't always get what we want...I've been told that I am now (at not quite forty years old) permanently and totally disabled, and can never work again at the physically demanding labor I used to perform. However, I have online work now that I love, and would never have stumbled upon it had this not happened, so I fully believe that everything happens for a reason.
HANG IN THERE- your reason will appear... ;-)
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Unread 01-10-2013, 06:57 PM   #9
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All my medications are over $6000 a month, the carrier offered me $45,000 to settle everything, how is that for nice!









Quote:
Originally Posted by 72daywmn View Post
It took a grand total of just over three years for my case to be settled. My back is no better, but essentially never will be from what I'm told as I am apparently not a candidate for surgery (I didn't really want surgery anyway, but might have considered it if it would've eased some pain). But I am finally on a decent regimen of pain medications that provide relatively satisfying pain control (I stay at about a 5/10 on the pain scale most of the day, which is tolerable most days. Sometimes there are uncontrollable spikes, but for the most part I am able to tolerate the pain I have without biting anyone's head off!)

Anyway...after 3 years, we finally settled by case for just under what my state's maximum is...In KS, the cap is 100,000 including any TTD that was paid throughout the case. I received $15k in TTD, and settled in the end for another $75k. After the attorney's cut, doctor bills, court costs and whatever other misc fees, I ended up with $50k at the end of the case, for a grand total of about $90k. Was it worth it to settle for $90k total instead of going to court some more to try for $100k that I may or may not have gotten? ABSOLUTELY.
I wish, wish, wish, wish that my back were better, or that I had some outlook of someday it being better to where I didn't have to need pain meds every day all day, but we can't always get what we want...I've been told that I am now (at not quite forty years old) permanently and totally disabled, and can never work again at the physically demanding labor I used to perform. However, I have online work now that I love, and would never have stumbled upon it had this not happened, so I fully believe that everything happens for a reason.
HANG IN THERE- your reason will appear... ;-)

Last edited by mrsD; 01-10-2013 at 07:07 PM. Reason: fixing quote tags for clarity
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