I settled a case for a client today at his Benefit Review Conference, or what we in the legal industry call a BRC. Generally, this takes place after the client has concluded treatment. A BRC is where we sit down at a table with the employer, the employer’s insurance company, their attorney, and a mediator to try and agree on a satisfactory compensation award for our client.
Today, our client gave us permission to settle his case at $150,000.00. I know that it might sound like a lot of money now but when you suffer a debilitating injury- you can’t work. You get behind in bills. You can’t put food on the table or keep the lights on, and you struggle to pay rent or make the house payment. Things add up quick and life gets really hard and depressing. I know that this money I’m fighting for has to last our client for years to come. Even though the client gave me the “okay” to settle at 150,000, I knew he would appreciate every penny I could get him, so I kept pushing for more. Because I didn’t throw in my hand or settle quick like many lawyers do, I was able to get our client $192,761.40 lump sum (380 weeks of benefits) with the added benefit of open medical treatment for his injury for life paid for by his employer.
As part of our legal strategy, we employed a recognized vocational expert to perform a vocational assessment of our client. Taking into account his age, education level, past work history, injuries and abilities a vocational expert will be able to opine in writing which, if any, jobs that our client would be able to perform within his doctor’s restrictions for his injuries. Based on those factors and many others, the expert determined that our client was “perm-total” or permanently and totally disabled which gave us more leverage at the negotiating table in the fight for a fair and deserving recovery.
Today went really well because of our ability as a law firm to accurately depict and support an argument for the severity, and life-altering nature of our client’s injuries. We did well also because at Rocky Law Firm, we don’t just understand the rules and laws governing work comp, car accidents, and personal injury- we eat and breathe them! We use them to our advantage when negotiating against careless, greedy opponents who try to stiff dedicated, hard-working Tennesseans.
In 2014, the Tennessee worker’s compensation system took a big hit. Many bills were passed that severely limited the amount compensation paid to those who have been seriously injured and are unable to work, penalized the injured employee, rewarded negligent employers, and closed the doors of the courthouse eliminating their right to a fair trial by judge. These changes not only put injured folks in a worse financial position and limited their potential recovery; it has made it harder to make hardly any recovery at all as it has reconfigured the system to side more with employers and insurance companies rather than with the real people whose lives have been destroyed.
These changes have forced many lawyers out of the business of helping injured people. And without representation, injury victims are left to fend for themselves and generally accept three times less then they deserve, which is what the employers’ insurance companies are counting on. “Fairness” no longer exists in the new system. And despite our crusades against these bills, the influence of the “big money insurance company” lobby won the vote with lawmakers and they were written into Tennessee law.
The client whose case I settled today had been injured before these bills were past; this is what we call an “old work comp law” case. Therefore, we were able to fight for and secure a satisfactory result for our client. Though this man may never be able to perform a job again in his life, under the new laws he might have only received less than a third of the settlement we shook on today. Could you imagine trying to survive on an income thousands less than your yearly income for the rest of your life? Yeah, we can’t either.
As disgusting and barbaric as these cuts are, we know that if you’ve been seriously injured at work, each and every dollar you can get will still make a difference to your future. That’s why RML is still fighting on the side injured workers. In fact, we’ve partnered with top lawyers around the state to help handle these “new work comp law” cases because together we make a more powerful impact against immovable corporations and a new employer-favoring system. We will always fight the good fight for the real people- never the powerful.
If you’ve suffered a serious work injury, call us today. Don’t fight this fight alone. We fight for you! (615) 425-2500