Is it the fact my civil case will take the bulk of settlement? 14 Answers as of February 01, 2013

For starters, I am a firefighter who was struck by a car while I was fighting a wildfire. I have major injuries to my leg and foot. I retained a personal injury attorney with no problem. However, my WC attorney search has yielded nothing. At first they seem all gung ho to get involved and then nothing. This has happened two times. I call to ask a question and they tell me they are not representing me. But I am a "friend of the firm". So I speak to another attorney he says "I can help" His office contacts me and gets info. But no contract has been made. Now I have sent a few emails with no response. I feel like this may have something to do with subrogation? It’s just really strange that at first they are very motivated and then nothing. Is it the fact my civil case will take the bulk of settlement? I just don’t get it. I have lots of questions for him.

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Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
Generally in California it is the other way around. You will get a WC attorney and then have trouble getting a PI attorney as workers compensation is entitled to a dollar for dollar set off for any money they paid out from the money received in your PI case (which is generally somewhat negotiable). If you don't bring a WC claim, there wouldn't be a set off.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/1/2013
Law Office of Christian Menard
Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
It sounds as if you need to find a WC attorney with whom you can communicate. I am sure your union representative can direct you to a reputable WC attorney. During your initial conference, you need to explain these facts to her so she can give you a definitive answer. However, typically, the case is where the proceeds of the settlement of the civil case will have to reimburse the WC insurance company for any money the WC insurance company paid out on your behalf. The WC insurance company has, in essence, a lien on your civil suit settlement. I can understand where you might have a problem in finding an attorney to handle the civil suit, for this reason, but not for the worker's comp attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/1/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
There are problems with subrogation but you talk to many lawyers, most for free, without a contract. How do you expect anybody to help you under these circumstances. Hire one PI lawyer and at most a worker comp lawyer and sign agreements with them so you and they know they are obligated you move around from one to the other expecting somebody to solve your problem. That is not business like unless I have a signed contract with you and expect to do whatever it takes why would I get involved on your behalf. Stop fussing about lawyers and get someone you trust and rely on them to perform.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/1/2013
Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
In the event the Bereau of Working Conditions pays any moneys to you or on your behalf, then it must be reimbursed from any moneys recovered in the civil suit. The reverse, however, is not true. So, it's unclear why you are having trouble finding an attorney who will aggressively pursue your Bereau of Working Conditions claim. However, it is important to proceed on your BWC claim since it may provide payment for treatment long after you civil case is settled. I can only speculate that the reluctance of the attorneys you have contacted to take your Bereau of Working Conditions case is for some unknown external factor.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/1/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Simple. Get your own compensation lawyer from elsewhere. It sounds like these guys are not competent.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/1/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Yes, you are correct in suspecting the civil suit makes the WC attorneys worry that they will not see any or little recovery of fees since they are based upon the percentage of disability. You can not collect twice for overlapping benefits, so that only leaves you with a civil suit claim of emotional distress that is not a duplicate benefit. Careful handling of the case might result in your getting more. Try contacting the union attorney for a local firefighters' department.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Your case per se would not take the bulk of the settlement. The settlement addresses three items: 1) your medical bills would be paid back, 2) your attorney would get his fees and 3) the remainder would go to you for pain and suffering and future medical coast that you have. My sense is your case is either too small or to complex (i.e., requiring a lot of attorney work and/or could go on for years). Nonetheless, the attorneys owe you a professional responsibility to get back to you. If they fail to do so, file a complaint with the State Bar Association.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Mike Lewis Attorneys | Mike Lewis
    You should speak with one of the workers comp attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Steven Kalishman, P.A.
    Steven Kalishman, P.A. | Steven J Kalishman
    Unfortunately there's not a lot on money in workers comp without a third party case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Your comp carrier is entitled to get back all the money it paid out from the driver of the car that hit you if they were at fault. They have that right by law. Usually, the personal injury lawyer works something out with the comp carrier for repayment at the conclusion of the cae. In some situations, personal injury lawyers prefer for the client to get a comp lawyer and have them pursue the comp claim vigorously. In others, they prefer the comp claim not be pursued until the car wreck claim is resolved. It's a matter of strategy. I would talk with your personal injury lawyer as to which course he or she prefers and if they want you to get a comp lawyer, get them to assist you in finding one.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Subrogation should not be a problem. In SC, the workers comp carrier has a subrogation interest in your civil third party claim. However, each claim will settle for a sum of money, hopefully a fair sum, nd each attorney will take a percentage of the settlement regardless of subrogation interests. Perhaps you should call some more firms, because I can see no reason a workers comp attorney would not want your case.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    I'm not sure what you mean by the civil case taking the bulk of your settlement. In NY, worker's comp proceeds are not "lienable" against an auto claim. Here's a suggestion: find another worker's comp attorney. But, instead of asking this attorney to represent you on the comp claim, offer to pay him/her a consultation fee to advise you as to your rights and options. It will run you a few hundred dollars, but it will be worth it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/31/2013
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    Worker's compensation cases work separately than the third party claim. The money or award from worker's compensation would be processed separately but is a lien towards your third party case. That means a portion of what worker's compensation pays you will be repaid to the insurance carrier from your settlement on your third party case. The problem may be that you are a city employee and dealing with city worker's compensation can be trying. If you are unsatisfied with your attorney you should seek other counsel.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/31/2013
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