What's a good lifetime medical settlement for spinal injuries?

by Gary
(Lompoc, California)

I used to be a professional truck driver in Santa Barbara California. Back in Feb 2012 I hurt my neck and lower back moving railroad ties at work. I herniated my C5 - C7 discs and T9-Tl5, and my l5-S1 were bulging. The company never sent me to a doctor or even gave me the workmans comp form.

I have been taking pain medication for almost 2 years now, and it's turned my liver fatty. I have seen the QME twice, both times the report came back in my favor, so now the insurance company wants to settle. I just want to know what to expect in the offer. I do have a good attorney, but he told me that the insurance company wants to use the amount that I receive from SSDI and the money I received from state disability to offset the settlement amounts.

I know I don't get pain and suffering (I wish I did) but what I am hoping for in the settlement is lifetime medical, and let's say $46,000 for the disability and lost wages. The QME rated my disability at 9%, but this rating does not include my neck injury. I go in at the end of November to see my spine specialist, who is going to give me another rating to go along with the first from the QME.

When I was on state disability, the state paid me $444 dollars a week for being disabled. Back when I did my deposition almost a year ago, my attorney told me that this would be the number. He asked me if the attorney for the insurance company wants to settle today, would I accept $23,000 dollars ($444 times 52 weeks). I said probably not. He then doubled it to $46,000 dollars ($444 times 104 weeks). I said yes I would probably accept that, and I think I will still accept it today.

So I was just wondering what I can expect from the insurance company in terms of lifetime medical settlement. Any ideas?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "What's a good lifetime medical settlement for spinal injuries?":

Gary (Lompoc, California):

Our policy is not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate. You should heed your attorney's advice and ask your attorney any questions you might have.

Generally speaking, in the State of California the amount of compensation an injured worker receives for an on-the-job injury is determined by the disability rating. With that said, it is possible for an injured worker to get lifetime open medical. When an injured worker comes to an agreement with workers comp, it's important he or she be aware of limitations included in the settlement agreement.

For example, an injured worker must be sure his or her open medical isn't limited to a specific doctor. What would happen if that doctor goes out of business, retires, or moves far away from where the worker resides? Another concern is the workers compensation board's ability to have the right to reassess a worker's injuries at a future date. It's important to be sure that eventuality is removed from the settlement agreement.

You appear to be in very competent hands. Continue to rely on your attorney's expertise.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION