Negotiating with Carriers in a Workers’ Comp Settlement
Why is it good to have a workers compensation attorney to negotiate for you? Here are just a few of the reasons.
1) The insurance company knows exactly how to evaluate a claim. While a toe injury may seem significant to the worker who can’t work because of a job that may require standing, the insurance adjuster often knows exactly how much money a judge will award and you might be surprised to find out it’s not much. This brings to mind the old story of a famous basketball player who told his coach he couldn’t play that night due to surgery to his toe. The coach told the player that the surgery was minor surgery. To which the player famously replied, “Coach, the only minor surgery is someone else’s surgery.”
2) There is an expression that the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. In other words, it is far easier to analyze a situation objectively with help. Furthermore, people become emotional when arguing on their own behalf. A lawyer knows when to turn up the emotion and when to back off. Remember, the insurance company often hires a lawyer to negotiate so maybe you should hire one too.
3) New York workers comp lawyers are not paid unless you receive money. And, unlike personal injury in which the fees are one third, fees in compensation cases are rarely more than 15%. Furthermore, the judge has to approve the fee to make sure it is fair.
4) Lawyers have access to resources such as legal cases and libraries, other lawyers who have had similar cases, knowledge of particular doctors, vocational experts and others who may be in a position to advise you. Often, the lawyer can lay out the various options for you and then you can decide what is best for you. For example, recently the carrier offered our client $150,000 to settle. Our client turned this down. However, a key feature of any negotiation is a BATNA. This stands for best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Simply put, saying no to an offer is not enough. The next question is what happens next after you say no. Does this automatically mean the carrier will raise the offer? What if they don’t and you have to litigate? What are the chances for success? How long will this take? Unless you are in a position to evaluate all the relevant factors, you will not know whether you got a fair shake.
Many factors go into whether a deal is fair. We consider who the judge is, how we think your doctor will testify, how cases like yours generally fare and whether the insurance company you have is likely to raise the offer. In fact two people with the exact same case often receive very different outcomes based simply on who the insurance company is. Sometimes who the insurance company is can be the biggest single factor in determining outcome. Sometimes an employer has influence on the carrier as well.
Contact Robert A. Koenigsberg – NY Workers Compensation Attorney
As always, contact a New York workers compensation lawyer to help you. I am here to take your call.
Contact the Law Office of Robert A. Koenigsberg at (212) 964-9292 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today!