When it comes to flying an airplane, “flying blind” is an especially dangerous thing to do if you are not a skilled pilot. If you aren’t at the top of your game, flying blind is the kind of thing that has a better than average chance of you crashing the plane into power lines, a building, the side of a mountain … you get the point.
When it comes to trying to settle your worker’s compensation case, flying blind is likely to have similarly disastrous results.
When it comes to negotiating a settlement, it is the most important skill that a worker’s compensation lawyer has. It brings into play the lawyer’s knowledge of the particular facts of your case, the medical issues in your case, and the overall legal framework of the worker’s compensation system. It also takes into account the lawyer’s knowledge about the lawyers and insurance companies on the other side, and the arbitrator assigned to hear the case. There are lots of variables to be taken into account.
Do you know how to account for all of those things? If not, you are flying blind and the overwhelming likelihood is that trying to handle settlement negotiations yourself will cost you thousands of dollars and delay the final resolution of your case.
Give you an example: let’s say that the fair settlement value of your case is $25,000, however that is computed. Let’s look at how settlement negotiations might play out if you handle the case yourself.
Example #1: You start by demanding $80,000.
The adjuster laughs, says let me know when you get serious. And you are left guessing as to where you should have started negotiations. In the meantime the adjuster has to report the settlement demand, and his supervisor refers your case to the “special investigations” (aka fraud) unit for special scrutiny or has your medical records sent out for a medical review to drive down your settlement value.
Example #2: You start by demanding $15,000.
This is less than the fair value, so you would think that they would jump on it. The thing is that the below-market number simply tells the adjuster that you don’t have the foggiest idea what you are doing and he can negotiate you down further. He starts by offering you $9,000 and ends up topping out $10,500.
Example #3: You start by demanding $25,000.
This is the “right” number to settle the case, but you should know that they won’t offer it to you. Instead, the adjuster will ask you a question: how did you come up with that figure? Whatever your answer is, unless you know the right way to figure that number, that answer will confirm what the adjuster suspects anyway: you don’t know what in the world you are doing, but have decided that you want to handle the case yourself. His response: to keep driving your figure down, so you end up with a final settlement well short of the $25,000.
The bottom line on this is that even if you hit on the right figure by blind luck, you are not going to get paid it any way.
Flying blind is a bad idea when you are trying to fly an airplane and just a bad idea when you are trying to do it with the settlement negotiations on your worker’s compensation case.
If you have a current worker’s compensation issue which you need help on, please feel free to reach out to our office by calling us at 312-263-1080 to discuss your issues and what options you have. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and there is no charge for the call.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you know anyone who can benefit from this kind of information, please feel free to share this information.
We are here to help truck drivers after an on-the-job accident. Knowledge is power, and the first step in protecting your rights is to know what they are.