Work Injury Claim Complications...
I was injured on the job in February of 2006. I had to file a workers compensation claim as the employer was screwing me over by not providing me medical insurance. Here in Hawaii the labor law stipulates that an employee who works 20 hrs or more continually should be provided medical insurance. That was not happening so I had to file a workers comp claim.
I filed for a hearing and the director found in my favor, granting the responsibility to the employer. Now according to Hawaii law the employer is to compensate the employee immediately, not having to wait for the director's decision.
Also the employer or insurer is to pay within 10 or 30 days, after my first hearing I waited more than 4 months before I was paid. Because of the delay I filed another hearing. The hearing director dismissed it because the employer's attorney said that they had paid me up to date (which was true), but I had to suffer without compensation for those 4+ months.
This has happened at least 3 times, each time a hearing was filed and the judgement was in my favor it took at least 4+ months to receive my compensation.
They had me participate in 3 IME's (Independent Medical Exams) and according to Hawaii law they are allowed only one, unless it is for the betterment of the employee in facilitating a faster recovery. But I know without a shadow of a doubt it was for their own gain so as to try and prevent any medical intervention.
On February 6, 2006 I sustained an injury to my c-spine (herniated/bulged disc at the c5-c6, and c6-c7) and a torn rotator cuff of the right shoulder. No surgery has been performed although it has been suggested by my doctor.
I think this case has been BS from the beginning. They terminated my vocational rehab on account of the rehab counselor collecting info from an IME doctor and then circumventing my primary care physician's written order that I was not ready (as nothing had been done to correct my injuries and I had not been released by my primary care physician to participate).
And that same doctor rated me at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)) and also rated me disabled, for which I am currently appealing. No attorney will take my case. So I think maybe I should consider a wash settlement.
If I do decide to go ahead with a settlement, how do I proceed and make sure I protect and get a fair settlement? Thank you for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Work Injury Claim Complications...":
Thomas (Kona, Hawaii):
The most effective manner in which to negotiate a settlement is to begin with a level head. The anger you harbor will undoubtedly get in the way of a settlement. That will only adversely affect your best interests.
The old expression "cooler heads will prevail" is an excellent expression to rely upon, especially when attempting to negotiate a workers compensation case.
Your initial facts seem to verify the idea that being upset may confuse the issues. You state your employer was "screwing" you by not providing medical insurance. As a result you say you had to rely on workers compensation insurance. Well you can't have it both ways.
Your employer was either required to carry workers compensation insurance by state law, or not. If he was then you will be bound by the settlement prescribed by workers compensation rules and regulations.
Your settlement will be made without litigation, as workers compensation laws in the state of Hawaii prohibits the filing of lawsuits when the employer is required to carry workers compensation insurance.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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