What is the most common lie in workers’ compensation claims? A lawyer in another state recently discussed this question on his blog. His conclusion:
I thought long and hard about that one. Unfortunately there are many to choose from. But I think the biggest is from lawyers who will do anything to sign a case up.
That lawyer was certainly correct in his conclusion – “there are many to choose from.” In my practice, I frequently deal with employers and insurance carriers who are less than honest on many issues. These include return to work issues, medical care, termination of employment, and disability benefits owed. In fact, the list of issues is too great for one blog post. So, I’ll focus on the topic of promises to sign up the case.
It’s a growing problem in both personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. Billboards and television advertisements promise huge recoveries in record time. Fast settlements and a quick check – That’s the frequent promise. Sometimes, it works that way. But, most of the time it does not. While promises are made to get the case, most of these volume lawyers fail to help their clients to the fullest. Sometimes, these volume lawyers even leave their clients in worse long-term shape. I see it every day in both personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.
Good attorneys rarely make promises of huge recoveries or quick settlements. Why? Because good attorneys know the best results come with hard work and preparation. And, good attorneys have actually seen the inside of a courtroom enough to know how justice really works. After making promises “to get” the case, what are a few ways these settlement mill lawyers fail clients in the workers’ compensation context:
- They do not fight to get medical treatment for clients.
- They do not monitor medical care to prevent insurance carriers from sending clients to the worst doctors.
- They do not defend clients against false denials of claims.
- They do not research and explore difficult injuries in an effort to understand fully the impact on clients.
- They do not aggressively represent clients.
- They do not take cases to trial when settlement offers are unfair to clients.
- They do not protect the rights of clients to long-term medical care for their injuries.
The interest of settlement mills is volume settlements, not the fight for justice. I see the results every day. My office receives calls daily from people who settled their case with one of these settlement mills and are now left in a bad situation. Unfortunately, it’s usually too late to help. These bad volume settlements affect all claims. In our cases, we now face employers and insurance adjusters who routinely and wrongly expect any settlement will be unfairly low and conditioned upon an injured worker simply giving up his or her right to medical care. That’s wrong. A system that treats individuals as parts on an assembly line is a system which leaves us all short of justice.