You Need the Best Lawyer For Your Work Injury - Especially if it was Caused by Someone Else
One of the mistakes that a lot of people make is assuming that they can handle their workers' comp claim all on their own. And sometimes they can: a straighforward case with a very minor injury and clear causation and the employer is paying their benefits, can usually be handled on your own. We call those cases "pro-se" or "do it yourself (DIY)." However, those cases are few and far between and most of the time the injured worker gets caught up in the crux of the workers comp insurance company trying to limit their benefits and treatment (protecting their bottom line) and their own, very legitimate needs for medical treatment and ongoing monetary benefits. Failing to have a lawyer who specializes in workers comp and serious injury cases could potentially have very dire consequences.
Realistically, given the complexity of the workers comp system, especially if your injury is caused by another company or someone you don't work with, you have to take it even a step further; you have to have a good attorney. You need to have one who knows the complicated ins and outs of the workers' compensation system and specifically like in this case, how third-party liability settlements work.
Virginia Lawyers Weekly ran a story about week ago telling the tale of an injured worker in Virginia who had a lifetime workers comp benefits claim estimated at six million dollars because he was permanently and totally disabled. He also pursued a third-party liability claim against a company that caused the injury (we see this a lot on construction sites) and won a settlement from that claim as well.
The Wrong Lawyer Cost this Injured Worker $6 Million
However, the problem was that he hired one attorney for workers' comp and another for his third-party liability claim. They failed to communicate somehow and wound up losing the six million dollar open benefits claim because they settled the third party case without the workers comp insurance company. In DC, Virginia and Maryland, the workers' comp carrier has the right to subrogate (recover money from) any award from a third-party lawsuit. When the workers comp insurance company learned of the settlement, they cancelled his workers' comp benefits.
Any time there is an existing lien that will impact the financial situation of an injured worker it must be disclosed because it will affect the settlement for workers' comp. That's just the way it is, and these attorneys should have covered that.
At Donahoe Kearney, our attorneys have an incredible amount of trial experience (they are both board-certified civil trial attorneys, which is a rarity), which means that we can cover all of the issues needed to take care of you - both your workers' comp case and any third-party lawsuits.
If you were seriously hurt at work - especially if the injuries were caused by someone else - don't make the mistakes these lawyers made. Call us today to get a comprehensive book on workers comp sent to you for free and to find out how to schedue a strategy session, specific to your case, with one of our lawyers. You can speak to a live person today if you call 202-393-3320.
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And if you can find a better law firm - hire them!