My experience with wc was just one of the many horror stories of an injured worker. In Florida you can't hire an attorney just because you're on wc. A lawyer here will only take your case after you've been denied something. For instance, in my case they weren't paying me and were denying me physical therapy. I think in Arizona you can't hire a lawyer until wc closes your case. At that point you can get a lawyer and have your case re-opened. That one is the silliest thing I've ever heard of but that's the way they wrote their laws.
As for settlement, I'm sure just as each state has different rules, they also reach a figure for settlement differently as well. I've seen a lot of people say they had to go for an exam to determine the % of disability(impairment rating) so wc could throw a number for settlement out there based on whatever the % for a body part(s) is. I was never sent to a doc for a impairment rating. In my case, wc added up what they had spent on my care up until that point in time(a yr and a half), then came up with a number of what they might spend on me in the next yr.
Since wc doesn't pay for pain and suffering or lost wages, the settlement will never be enough. If you're lucky to live in a state with lifetime medical that's good. Florida has no lifetime medical so there was no reason for me to stay on wc and fight while they destroyed my life. I went to mediation, bantered back and forth for about 2 hours and settled on a $$ amount for settlement. The best I got was 40k, 10 of that went to my lawyer so I got a check for 30.
Each of our cases are unique, just as the laws are. I don't think anyone can say what a fair or reasonable amount may be because it depends on the state, the wc laws and whatever else they use to figure things out. They don't care that this is a lifelong condition and won't take that into account when tossing out a $$ amount to settle with you.
If you're unsure of what your wc laws are for your state, then your best bet would be to pick a wc lawyer and take advantage of the free consultation they have. Then you can ask them when you are able to hire a lawyer or if wc has lifetime medical in your state. WC lawyers are paid when your case is over and settlement is reached. You don't have to pay them any money up front to hire them or anything like that. I do know every state has a % that lawyers can take. Like here in florida, the Fee Schedule is 20% of the first $5,000.00, 15% of the next $5,000.00 of all benefits obtained and 10% of the benefits in excess of $10,000.00 during the first 10 years, and 5% of the benefits obtained after 10 years. We also get a lump sum settlement which means we get it all at once. I had a friend in california on wc. There, the settlement is given by annuity. When she settled she was mailed a check every month I think it was and that continues until all of the amount of her settlement is paid out. Out there they also take a portion of your settlement and put it into a separate account. That money is used only for paying for docs,pt and meds or docs and meds, whatever you have need of. Once that money is gone you have to self pay.
Sorry this is so long. I really hope this helps you somehow.
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