Understanding Your Work Comp Claim

What damages can I seek in my workers compensation claim?

In work comp claims, you’re entitled to lost wage benefits, medical benefits, and impairment benefits.  In addition, the possibility for payment of penalties and interest exists in the event a monetary payment you’re entitled to receive is not paid timely.  Essentially, when you’ve been injured on the job and are dealing with a workers compensation insurance company, the benefits referenced above are the only, “damages,” you’re entitled to.  You can seek to settle your work comp claim. For more information in that regard, see “What is my work comp case worth,” below.  We seek to obtain any and all benefits that are denied, delayed, or not being paid to in an amount less than you’re entitled to receive.  If we file what is called a Petition for Benefits on your behalf and the workers compensation carrier does not provide monetary benefits to you within 30 days, you may be eligible to receive an additional 20% penalty on top of the lost wage or impairment benefits you’re entitled to.  Aside from work comp claims, the type and amount of damages you’re potentially able to recover varies depending on the type of case we’re handling on your behalf.  To understand the full scope of the areas of law we handle, please visit our legal services page.

Will my workers compensation claim go to trial?

Whether your work comp claim proceeds to a final hearing before a Judge of Compensation Claims is a question we can’t answer with a straightforward yes or no.  Proceeding to final hearing means that there are one or more benefits you’re entitled to but that are being denied by the work comp carrier.  A final hearing could also be the result of your work comp claim being wrongfully denied.  Because each case is unique, each determination of whether to proceed to trial is unique to that person’s case.

What questions will I be asked at my deposition?

In workers compensation claims, injured workers are generally asked the same questions in every case.  The questions are specific to your accident and resulting injuries, but are the same in regard to the information the insurance company is seeking to obtain.  Prior to your deposition, we make sure you are fully prepared.  We discuss the deposition process with you and inform you of any specific questions you can anticipate being asked.   Generally, the insurance company will ask about your educational background and prior work experience.  They ask about these subjects because they want to determine what transferable skills you may have.  They ask about prior accidents and injuries; work related or not.  You will be asked about any preexisting or current medical conditions.  It is important to disclose any and all prior or current medical care.  You will be asked how the accident happened and what injuries you sustained.  You will be asked about how your treatment is progressing.  You will be asked what kind of car you drive and what color it is.  Why? Because if the insurance company wants to conduct surveillance, knowing the make, model, and description of your vehicle helps in that regard.   You will be asked if you have any dependents.  Why?  Because the potential to fall behind in any court ordered child support payments exists when someone is injured on the job.   You will be asked enough questions to consume approximately one hour of time.  The important thing to remember is that we’re sitting right beside you.  If you aren’t sure of the answer or feel as though you would like to ask your attorney a question before answering, just let us know and we’ll go off the record and outside the room where your deposition is taking place.

What type of injury claims does Dolman Law Group handle?

In addition to workers compensation claims, Dolman Law Group handles a wide variety of injury claims.  The easiest way to review our practice areas is by visiting our legal services.

My employer or their workers compensation insurance company is claiming the accident was my fault, what do I do?

You are entitled to workers compensation benefits regardless of whether your work accident was your fault or not.  The important factors for a work comp claim are whether you had an accident while in the course and scope of your employment and whether you sustained any injuries as a result.   You can also be eligible for work benefits as a result of being exposed to toxic substances or chemicals while on the job.   If you are being told that you’re not entitled to work comp benefits because the accident was “your fault,” contact our office for a free consultation.

What will I have to do if the workers compensation insurance company settles my claim?

If a settlement of your work comp claim is reached, the work that is done in that regard is our job.  Your obligations are to sign the settlement paperwork when we contact you to schedule an appointment to do so.  Then we contact you when we’ve received payment of the settlement proceeds from the workers compensation carrier.  What you do with your settlement proceeds is your decision.

How much is my work comp claim worth?

Workers compensation claims are not evaluated the same way that personal injury, auto accidents, or slip and fall claims are.  Different criteria and factors enter the equation used to determine settlement value of a work comp claim.   Settlements in work comp claims are voluntary.  You can’t force the work comp insurance company to settle for any specific amount. The work comp insurance company can’t force you to accept any specific amount as a settlement.  The amount is never determined by a judge or jury.  The amount agreed upon is the result of negotiations between your attorney and the attorney for the work comp carrier.  We never reach a settlement agreement without your consent and understanding of EXACTLY how much you will receive.  The value of a work comp claim in terms of settlement is based on what future medical care and wage loss benefits are reasonably anticipated in your claim.  Worker’s compensation insurance companies refer to these reasonably anticipated future expenses as “future exposure.” For example, if a doctor you’re authorized to see through work comp recommends surgery, your claim has more potential settlement value before you undergo surgery than it would after any surgery.  The reason your claim has more value before an expensive medical procedure is performed is because after the work comp carrier pays for such a procedure, money that could’ve gone in your pocket has gone to pay the physicians performing the procedure.   Settlements of work comp claims involve a number of factors and should not be entered into without understanding all the risks and benefits.

What if I can’t afford to pay for Legal Representation?

We represent individuals injured on the job on a contingency fee basis.  A contingency fee basis means that there are no fees or costs you have to pay in order for us to proceed with undertaking representation.  Fees and costs in work comp claims can be paid by the worker’s compensation carrier if we obtain a benefit on your behalf, or from a settlement.  The Dolman Law Group does not undertake representation without going over exactly how fees and costs are paid in worker’s compensation cases.  Much like representation in auto accident, personal injury, or slip and fall type claims, our representation of you in a work comp claim proceeds on a similar contingency fee basis. Contact us for a free consultation at (727) 853-6275 or visit www.dolmanlaw.com.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275