Sunday, March 13, 2016

I Settled My Minnesota Workers Compensation Case Years Ago. Can I Get Help?

Every week our office receives a call from someone who needs help getting a medical bill paid on a case they "settled" many years ago. The first thing we do is help them locate their old settlement papers. Sometimes the injured worker has retained a copy but if not, we can often we can obtain a copy from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry where the document was originally filed many years ago.  If we strike out there there are other ways for our investigators to track them down.  After we obtain a copy it literally takes our expert Minnesota work comp attorneys minutes to determine that in many cases they may have more benefits then they initially believed.

There are many different types of settlement which have evolved over the last three decades, the most common of which are outlined below.  Though settlement does not occur in every case, it's mandatory that the parties participate in settlement discussions in every case pending before the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings.  The parties can discuss settlement at the court mandated "Settlement Conference", a mediation with an independent third party mediator, or through direct party negotiations.

  •   Full Final & Complete - The most common these days is a "full, final and complete settlement".  This is a common settlement when the workers compensation insurer has denied liability that you have a work injury.  This type of settlement involves the insurer paying you a lump sum of money to closed out all past, present and future workers compensation benefits of any kind.  In exchange for the lump sum payment you right to all workers compensation benefits are closed out.
  •   Full, Final & Complete With Medical Open - This is the most common settlement when the employee has an admitted injury but the there is conflicting evidence regarding the extent of the injury or whether it is temporary or permanent.  Often an adverse medical report from an "independent medical examination" constributes to an employee agreeing to the same.  This is similar to the first settlement above with the exception that some of your future medical benefits are left open.  
  •   To Date Settlement - This was more common years ago and still occurs on occasion especially when the employee has a very strong case.  This settlement usually results in the workers compensation insurer paying all outstanding medical bills through the date of the agreement as well as a compromise of wage loss claims or other disputes as well.  In this settlement all future wage loss, vocational and medical claims remain open subject to the ongoing defenses of the workers compensation insurance company.
Settlements are voluntary and you are not compelled to engage in the same.  However, our attorneys and all workers compensation judges believe that settlement discussions are a necessary part of the workers compensation system.   Workers compensation is a "no-fault" system and as the result of this compromised system of justice you will never be made "whole" or fully compensated for your injury. Having been an injured workers like you, I can assure you that you will NOT receive "justice" even with a win at hearing.  The best that you can hope for is that the compensation judge finds you to be a credible witness and that you have met your burden of proof in establishing you sustained a work related injury.  From there you entitlement to workers compensation benefits will flow.  However, often the injured worker chooses to settle for reasons personal to them and their case.  

At Atkinson Law Office we have recovered millions of dollars in benefits on behalf of our clients every year!  For a free consultation contact the workers compensation experts today.  All of our lawyers are award winning attorneys and FORMER insurance company attorneys who will show you the secrets the insurance companies don't want you to know.  Contact us today at 651-333-3636.