How Long Does A Workers Comp Case Take? Will It Drag On For A Long Time?

November 14  

Important Information If You've Been Involved In a Work Injury.

The question is, how long does a worker's comp case take? That's something lots of people who got injured, they're like:

"is this thing going to take forever?"
"is it going to drag out?"

There's a couple of things that I can tell you.

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Know the Diagnosis.

First, you have to be done treating or we have to know exactly what your diagnosis is. Or what your outcomes going to be before we can wrap a case up. I always try to settle cases if it's possible. And if they can't be settled, then I push them to trial as fast as possible. But I can't do either one of those things until and unless we know exactly what's wrong with you. 

Maximum Medical Improvement

Preferably you reach what's called MMI or maximum medical improvement. We need to know that because maximum medical improvement means, "he hurt his back but he's as good as he's gonna get". And sometimes "as good as you're gonna get" means you're completely back to normal or pretty close. Or sometimes it means they've done a surgery or two on you and you're still all messed up. That's when the value of the case comes in. Obviously a serious permanent injury is worth a lot more money than just a temporary back injury.

But the point is we don't want to settle your case until we know how bad the injury is. Here's a for example. I had a guy who was really tight on money and he had a serious back injury. His doctor said he wants him to have back surgery. We tried therapy, we tried injections to his back, his back is still all messed up, he can't go back to work and do his job as a truck driver. But the guy was tight on money and he just said

"Is there some way you can get the doctor to send me back to work and just settle my case?".

So what I told him was,

"What happens to you if you don't have the surgery, we settle your case and then you can't work? like you try to work for a couple of days and you end up in the emergency room?"
Settling a Case

Here's what you got to know. When we settle a case or if we go to trial on a case and we get a ruling one way or the other for you, we win the case, that means it's over. We can't go back and ask for more money after the case is settled or after we get a verdict on the case. You can see why it's super important to know exactly what the injury is. And if we don't know what the injury is and we settle the case you could really be setting yourself up for a big problem.

Let's say I get you twenty thousand to thirty thousand dollars for a back strain case. And then a month later, you need surgery. Well who's gonna pay for it? Who's gonna pay you while you're off work? Those are all things you get in workers comp. But if we have already settled the case, then I can't go back and ask for more.

So that's what you got to know about like how long it takes for a worker's comp case to go. Now once we know what your injury is and we know what your outcome is. I move pretty quickly, within 60 days I got to know whether the workers comp insurance wants to settle the case. And if they don't I'll just notice it up for trial. And a lot of times noticing it up for trial gets these guys to pay some money. The problem is getting in front of the judges, getting In front of the arbitrator. 

Nineteen B Motion

Your case gets assigned to an arbitrator and then just like anybody else those guys are busy. They've got a bunch of cases on their call, everybody's competing for attention plus they get to take a vacation too. So it sometimes can take a delay a little while to get in front of a judge on a trial. But once you notice it, the other side knows you're serious and then a lot of times they'll get pretty serious about trying to resolve the case.

The Last thing I'll mention is, if you get hurt at work and they cut off your benefits meaning they won't approve a doctor visit. Or they're not sending you your TTD or your temporary total disability or the money they pay you when you're off work with a doctor's note. If they stop paying, you have to be off work for six weeks before I can even go in front of the judge on what's called a nineteen B motion to get you paid.

Lawyers Can't Control Everything

There are some delays built into the system that lawyers don't have any control over. But that's pretty much we can't settle the case until you're done treating or until we know what your condition is you're at MMI and then just understand that there are built-in things that delay a quick resolution as much as we'd like to get them for you. If you're hot to settle your case, but you're still in a lot of pain and you're still going to the doctor you cannot settle your case. Don't do it.

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

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