Insurance companies will try basically anything to defeat a workers’ compensation claim, including paying a private investigator hundreds or even thousands of dollars to track, watch and record an injured worker’s activities. A skilled insurance lawyer can then use this evidence to build a case against a claimant that may eventually become too damaging to overcome. Unfortunately, it happens all the time – many times in cases where an injured employee has not had the benefit of visiting with a workers’ compensation lawyer about how the system works and the common tactics used by insurance companies to impair claims. I know all of the common tactics utilized by insurance companies to impair claims, including surveillance, because I used to be an insurance lawyer. That’s some pretty valuable experience to have in your corner.
Let’s face it, when you’re injured at work, the last thing you’re thinking about is how to navigate the Workers’ Compensation claims process. And who could blame you? All you know is that you’re hurting and you want to get better – so you can get back to work. After all, there are bills to pay and mouths to feed.
But, in all honesty, figuring out how your Workers’ Comp injury translates into future medical expenses and possible job limitations should be at the top of your list. Because the longer you wait, the more uninformed decisions will be made that could jeopardize your Workers’ Compensation claim, your health and your future.
Here are the major steps to consider as you work to settle your Workers’ Compensation claim:
Assess the seriousness of your injury, most importantly, if you have a permanent impairment and permanent work restrictions.
Determine if you have lost the ability to make your pre-injury wage.
Decide if your injury will require training to perform a different job.
Understand how much medical care you will need in the future and the cost associated with these healthcare services.
Figure out how much all of this is worth under the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Act and come up with a dollar figure reflecting that amount.
Approach the insurance claims adjuster with a demand for settlement (this is often referred to as a “demand letter”).
Convince the insurance claims adjuster – and likely their attorney – to agree to that settlement amount.
Review and sign a lengthy set of settlement documents, prepared by the insurance company’s attorney(s).
Go to court and ask an administrative law judge to agree to let you settle the case for the agreed upon amount.
If you have any questions about the Arkansas Worker’s Comp claims process, feel free to call us at 1-800-520-5874, or go hartlawfirmllp.com/#faqs. Helping injured workers is what we do. And even if we don’t represent you, we can help point you in the right direction.