Monday, January 23, 2012

How & Whys of Minnesota Work Comp Settlements

Though I have handled hundreds of workers compensation hearings and conferences, I have also participated in thousands of Minnesota workers compensation settlements.  I have the unique experience of having assisted insurance companies and more recently injured workers.  This experience makes my office extremely effective in negotiating on behalf of my injured clients when trying to squeeze every penny out of the insurance company.

How do settlements work?  Though insurance companies have been known to quickly attempt settlements after an employee is injured, the more common scenario occurs after a claim has been paid and then a portion or all of the claim is denied.  Settlements also can occur after your attorney sues the insurance company to pay your benefits.  It is extremely important if you are unrepresented to at least have an attorney review the settlement agreement to be sure you are getting the deal that was promised.  On many occasions I have also been able to obtain additional settlement money for clients.  On one occasion we obtained over $60,000 in additional money only a few weeks after an insurance adjuster made a "final offer" to our client.  Not only did we obtain additional money for our client but we negotiated better settlement terms by leaving open future medical benefits for him as well.

Once the settlement agreement is reached the parties draft what is called a Stipulation for Settlement.  This is a very important document that is signed by all parties and then approved by a workers compensation administrative law judge from the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings.  This entire portion of the process can take from 2 weeks to a few months depending on the number of parties and issues involved.  After the stipulation for settlement is completed and signed by all parties, it is submitted to the judge who issues an Award on Stipulation.  This is an Order and the work comp insurance company must MAIL payment within 14 calendar days.  The vast majority of payments go directly the injured worker within two weeks of the judge's Order.

You only have one chance to negotiate you settlement and doing so without a lawyer is just plain crazy.  I have seen many adjusters take advantage of workers by explaining the reasons behind the settlement value without ever telling them what they are really giving up in exchange.  Contact the lawyers at Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office today to see how we can assist you with you claim.  We assist hundreds of injured workers every year in obtaining the best results for their family given their unique situations.  We meet with clients across the entire state of Minnesota.  Contact us toll free at 800-933-5619 or 651-333-3636.  Feel free to visit our other website for additional information. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Choosing A Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor (QRC)

What is a QRC?  A qualified rehabilitation counselor works to assist in the rehabilitation of injured workers.  A QRC has the job of helping injured workers return to suitable employment as quickly as possible. This could mean a return to work with the pre-injury employer, in either the same job or another job, or to a new employer in the same or a different type of work.

Though QRCs are suppose to be neutral parties in the rehabilitation process, any experienced workers compensation attorney will telling you that often those QRCs assigned to you by the employer and insurer have an alternative motive; steering you to a biased uncaring doctor, obtaining a full release of restrictions as soon as possible regardless of you the injured worker, and minimizing rehab costs.  The employer insurer QRC is NOT to be trusted.  They employer and insurer QRC may seem to be your friend and acting on your behalf but before you realize what is happening the damage done may be difficult to reverse.  You have the right to change QRCs at any time within the first 60 days after they are assigned.  However you have the right to chose the initial QRC.  ALWAYS consult with an attorney to obtain a suggestion of the right QRC for you.  At Minnesota Disability and Atkinson Law Office, we can help you with this extremely important task at no cost to you.  Feel free to contact our office directly at 651-333-3636.