Attorney’s Fees in N.Y. Workers Compensation Cases

As in all injury cases we handle, your initial consultation with our office on comp cases is free. Accordingly, you have nothing to lose to become informed of your rights and the process. Learning about the comp system is very important because even though the system is supposedly set up to protect the injured worker, their are many pitfalls and quirks in the system that you need to know about to adequately protect your interests.

If you decide that you want representation in your New York Workers’ Compensation claim, you will never pay your attorney directly. In fact, under NY law, it’s illegal for a lawyer to accept fees directly from a client in a Workers’ Compensation case. Only the Workers Comp Judge can award an attorney’s fee.

If we represent you at a simple hearing, our fee is generally $100 to $200 depending on how much work we do and we can only be paid if you’re getting paid. In other words, if no money is being awarded to you, the Judge cannot and will not award an attorney’s fee to us. If the Judge awards an attorneys fee, our fee is usually deducted from your award check at a rate of $5 or $10 a week and after 20 weeks we get a check.

Additionally, there are a number of circumstances under which you may be eligible to receive a lump sum compensation payment (more on that later). If we represent you under those circumstances, our fee is generally around 10% of the lump sum amount awarded to you.

Whether it is with our firm or another firm, the important thing is that you meet with someone experienced with workers comp cases and let them explain the workings of the Workers’ Compensation system. Then you can make a decision if you want to be represented.

Please come back for my next installment on Workers’ Compensation in which I discuss “consequential injuries” and what that means in workers comp.

Thanks for reading,
Jim Reed
NY Injury and Accident Attorney
Elmira, NY

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About Jim Reed

I am an attorney from Elmira, N.Y. representing people who have been injured by the negligence of others. For more than 20 years, I have practiced in the state and federal courts of both New York and Pennsylvania in the areas of Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, and Legal Malpractice. Circle Jim on Google+! I am proud to be a member of the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Forum membership is limited to trial lawyers who have demonstrated exceptional skill, experience and excellence in advocacy by achieving a trial verdict, award or settlement of One Million Dollars or more. I have been fortunate to recover many multi-million dollar recoveries for my clients. I am also proud of the fact that WETM-TV selected me as their local legal expert. I am featured on the Noon News on Wednesdays when I respond to listeners' legal questions. If you have a legal question, feel free to E-mail it to me at [email protected] and I will be happy to address your question either via E-mail or on WETM. I am a lifelong resident of Elmira where I live with my wife and three children. When I am not working, I can often be found on my bicycle as I am an avid bicycle racer having competed in races all over the country including a 508 mile team race through Death Valley (The Furnace Creek 508) and a 540 mile race through the Cascade Mountains of Oregon (The Race Across Oregon). I have lectured frequently on many law-related topics and I have been published in the New York State Bar Journal, which is the largest and most prestigious legal publication in New York State. I am happy to speak to local civic groups so please feel free to E-mail me at [email protected] or call me at 1-800-Zifflaw (943-3529) .

39 thoughts on “Attorney’s Fees in N.Y. Workers Compensation Cases

  1. If a WC case seeks only physician(s) costs and medical costs but, not lost wages then, how will a WC attorney get paid if s/he represents a claimant? Would the AL Judge set an AF rate paid not out of benefits awarded?
    Can an attorney quide a claimant in the WC claim process but not represent the claimant in any WC pre-hearing conference nor the hearing itself?

  2. Dennis:
    We have Workers Comp. clients who have no lost time from work and thus would not be eligible for awards. These folks may need assistance at a hearing related to their medical benefits. Sometimes we have folks who at the time they come to us only need our help dealing with insurance company investigators.

    We don’t evaluate Workers’ Comp. cases in terms of the monetary value of the claim. We look only at whether this person has a viable Workers’ Comp. claim. It is possible that we might not receive any attorney’s fees for some of the Workers’ Comp. cases we take.

    That being said, many times there will be some sort of award as discussed generally in the blog post as a “lump sum.” Many people who had no or very little lost time as a result of their injury would be eligible for a schedule loss of use or may want to do a §32 settlement of their case. Our fee is 10% in those cases.

    Workers’ Comp. cases can last the life of the injured person. We have represented people in their Workers’ Comp. case for many years. As far as our getting paid goes, it all just seems to work out in the end.

    I think my answer to your first question in some measure answers your second question. Because we’re not concerned about getting paid for every hearing, we don’t offer discrete legal services with respect to Workers’ Compensation. In other words, we represent our clients at every hearing in their Workers’ Comp. case.

    I hope that responds to your questions and thanks for reading.
    Eric

  3. im currently with a wc attorney and after 2 years and im finally going to get a settlement…
    but according to my attorney he states that wcb mandates a min of 15 percent towards the attorneys office…
    I was initially told that it could be anywhere from 12-15 percent but now they state its a min of 15 percent…
    is that true?

  4. Lisa:

    Ths short answer is NO, there is NOT a mandatory minimum attorney fee of 15%.

    In NY (at least Upstate where I practice), the “usual comp fee” is 10%, not 15% of any lump sum payment award. For that matter, there is no such thing as a “minimum fee”. Heck, if any attorney wanted to do your case for free, there’s nothing preventing them from doing so. Let me know if you want to talk to my office’s workers comp rep if you have any other questions.

    Thanks, Jim
    _________________________________________
    James B. Reed, Esq.
    Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
    Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  5. The amount of a Section 32 settlement is determined by negotiations between you or your attorney and the insurance carrier. The amount is generally dependent on your weekly rate.

    Most Section 32s are done for around 5 to 5 and ½ years of the claimant’s weekly rate. However, that number can be negotiated up based upon factors such as high medical expense and the claimant’s young age.
    Thanks for reading,
    Eric
    ____________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson
    Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
    303 William St.
    Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  6. in workers comp cases in what instance does the carrier choose not to settle. and if they do is it always better to settle out of court.

  7. Everything is a matter of dollars and cents for an insurance carrier and they will have no interest in settling in any case where it doesn’t make economic sense for them to do so.

    In New York State, no party has the right to a Section 32. Settlement negotiations are between the parties with the Section 32 Agreement being subject to the approval of the Workers’ Comp. Board and the Workers’ Comp. Law Judge.

    Thanks for reading,
    Eric
    ____________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson
    Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
    303 William St.
    Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  8. i am currently in the middle of a C32 settlement. WCB submitted a counter offer which mandated that i set aside $12000 for future medicare expenses. Can they mandate this if i am currently on SSD and a medicare benificary already. Also, my lawyer is not very communicative towards me and i have contacted various other lawyers to see if they would be willing to take on my section 32 and have found that i am basically stuck with the lawyer that i started out with. Is this common practice amoung lawyers? Thanks.

  9. Hi Bill,
    One quick point. WCB is an abbreviation for the Workers’ Comp. Board. It is the insurance carrier that would be making the counter offer.

    The $12,000 set aside for medical expenses is what is called a Workers’ Comp. Medicare Set Aside (WCMSA). The WCMSA is done because, by statute, Section 32 settlements may not shift the burden of future medical expenses to Medicare. Because you’re on Medicare, a WCMSA must be done.

    As to why no other lawyers won’t take your case, there may be any number of reasons for that. However, many lawyers or representatives would be reluctant to take a case in the settlement phase if you’ve been represented for a long period of time by someone else. The reason being that your current lawyer may file an OC-400.1 for fees, which would operate as a lien for attorney’s fees on your settlement.

    If you were interested in this firm representing you, we would want to meet with you face to face to discuss your case.
    Thanks for reading,
    Eric
    ____________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson
    Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
    303 William St.
    Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  10. My ex-husband was working for a mining company in upper NY in May when approximately 3.3 ton of marble fell on him. I have two children with him and we have a WCB hearing set up for Sept. 30th at 9:00. Would we need representation or would the Board have the childrens interest in hand? Or is there a formula that states being a fatality the children are entitled to xx amt of money? I’m not sure what to do and I’m on a time schedule since the hearing is soon. Thank you for your time.

  11. Alicia,
    First, let me express my condolences for your and your children’s loss.

    There is a formula that the Board applies in cases like these; however it’s rarely as simple as that. I would strongly advise that you get representation. Please give me a call at (607) 733-8866 so we can talk about your case.
    Thanks,
    Eric

    ____________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  12. Eric ive read other peoples letters to you and im going through the same thing i have been out of work since Feb 23,07 i won 2 injuries through WC i have a severe neck injury i had a 50 lb box fall off the top of a pallett and crack 2 vertabrae in my neck also i have severe bi-lateral carpal tunnel thats why i have my wife typing this for me. i had surgery on both hands and both releases failed now my Drs say i have permanent nerve damage. I applied for SSD in APRIL 07 and won it JULY 08 without a hearing. I am currently collecting WC every 2 weeks and all my medical which because im totally and permanently disabled they have to pay me indefinitely i called my lawyer and told him to contact the insurance company and to work on a settlement. I received a letter from him like a month later after repeated calls and it had an offer of like 117,000 i told him absolutely no way i said to him do you realize i have 2 injuries my neck is severely damaged and my hands i can hardly use. He said yes which i didnt believe him we then put a letter together over the phone i was asking for no less than 450,000 and he said he would fax it to them and send a copy to them another month goes by i call him and i ask him after threatening the girl to tell him that if hes not going to work on this like my lawyer i will not settle and just keep collecting indefinitely and he wont get one dime.About 15 minutes later he calls me and tells me he heard from the insurance company so i said to him when were you going to let me know he then said the offer went up to 125,000 i still said no way. He then said to me Don insurance companies are like robots they would rather pay me every 2 weeks plus all my medical plus scripts which are 1,300 month than to settle this for 450,000 i figured it out Eric over the next 30 years if i live that long it will cost the insurance company over 600,000 than just settling now for 450,000 so i think my lawyer is a lying b***h what do you recommend that i do thanks Don

  13. Hey Don,
    I hear your frustration. Your lawyer isn’t lying to you.

    Generally Workers’ Compensation claims settle for 5 to 5 and 1/2 years of the claimant’s wage payments. If there is the potential for substantial ongoing medical bills, this can be used to negotiate up, but the rule is 5 to 5 and 1/2 years.

    The first thing to remember about settling a Workers’ Compensation claim is that the insurance company isn’t going to settle for the amount of your loss. They look at settling only in terms of their liability.

    I see you’ve done that; however, when they’re looking at their liability for your claim, they’re going to consider that at some future time all or some of that liability may be shifted to a state fund or the possibility that they can get out of paying because of labor market attachment of some other issue. Please see my post on labor market attachment at:

    http://www.zifflaw.com/NYInjur.....attachment

    You said that your medical says your totally and permanently disabled; however, you should talk to your attorney and make sure that the Workers’ Compensation Law Judge has found you to be so. Your case is relatively new and my guess is that awards are on a temporary total basis at this point.

    The bottom line is that your lawyer isn’t lying to you.

    I hope that answered your question. Thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  14. I am glad I stumbled onto your site. My current lawyer never returns my calls or answers questions. They call me once in a blue moon and ask me the 20 questions and hang up. Here is my deal. In August of 2007 I was more or less attacked by a “consumer” that I took care of. He is mentally retarded and has a folder a foot thick of behavior problems. The policy of my NY State Job is that if a consumer is having a behavior within the hour of a shift change someone from the previous shift must stay with me. Didnt happen and about an hour later he attacked me after I tried to calm him down and prevented him from attacking another consumer. During this behavior of his I had him in a standing wrap and he put both his feet against the wall and leg pressed me in to the corner jutting out and into my spine. I brought him to the ground and restrained him. I wrote the incident up and did everything I was supposed too. Well my back started to hurt that week. Needless to say I had a major surgery august 6th of 2008 in about 10 hours of surgery and 6-9 months of recovery including mostly bed rest. I am getting my check regularly but I want the state or someone to pay for this. We found out a week before this that my wife and I are pregnant and since then my daughter is 6 months old and I cannot do a stinkin thing with her. My wife had complications during her pregnancy as I could do nothing. We are pregant again (accident) HA!! My other two kids are upset and my son has problems cause there is no time between us. I want a settlement started and I want answers to what next. Please help me. I am in bed rest until the spring. I AM 29 YEARS OLD!! We have a quarter million dollar house we just bought and new cars and this is killing us.
    Peter

  15. Hi Peter,
    I can sense your frustration and I’m truly sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve had because of your work injury.

    Unfortunately, other than in cases involving death or “grave injury,” Workers’ Compensation is your sole remedy. This means you can’t sue your employer.

    You mention wanting to start a settlement. You and the person who commented before you have clued me in to the fact that I am going to have write a post on settlement soon.

    You can settle a Workers’ Comp case. The problem with settling your case right now is that you’re obviously not at maximum medical improvement. At least 9 times out of 10, the insurance carrier will want to settle their liability for medical with their liability for wages. At this time, you can’t possibly know what your future medical expenses are. We never recommend that our clients settle before they are at maximum medical improvement.

    Because it sounds like you have been or will be out of work for 12 months or more, I would STRONGLY recommend that you apply for Social Security Disability.

    If you’re unhappy with your current lawyer and you don’t mind traveling to Elmira for hearings, I would be happy to talk to about your case.

    I hope that answered your questions. Thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  16. Pingback: Elmira Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Explains Settling Workers’ Compensation Cases | NY Malpractice Attorney | New York | PA

  17. i had 2 major lumber surgerys@ L4 THRU S1 WITH rods and fusions and hardware, its been 6 yrs,and i am ay the section 32 settlement. and its been 6 months with and offer of 114k inthe state of nys .is that normal$ amount.i was classified with a permant partcl disabitaly,shold the amount be higher.tommy

  18. Eric,
    Hello, my name is Jill and I have been out of work for 6 weeks. I have Bi-Lateral Carpal Tunnel and am having my 1st surgery on the 18th. I just received 1st comp checks this week. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind answering them.

    1- Can I represent myself at a settlement hearing. I know you are probably going to say that it wouldn’t be advisable but…

    2- you mention that most comp claims are settled from 5 to 5 1/2 yrs. of the claimants wage payments. what is the average payment that you have come across for my situation above, if you don’t mind answering that one.

    3- What is the insurance company usually liability in a case like this. I know they all carry different coverages.

  19. Hey Tommy,
    Your weekly payment amount is the biggest factor in what the insurance carrier is going to offer. See my post http://www.zifflaw.com/NYInjur.....tion-cases

    Remember settlement is voluntary. Also, remember the insurance company is going to want to settle your medical benefit too. Think carefully about that. If you haven’t applied for Social Security Disabililty, I would recommend it.
    Thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  20. Hey Jill (comment 19),
    I’ll answer your questions in the order you asked them.
    1) If you have surgery on Dec. 18th, you’ll probably need representation long before it’s a good idea to settle.
    2) If by payment you mean settlement, it varies largely with weekly payment. See my post on settling comp cases at http://www.zifflaw.com/NYInjur.....tion-cases
    3) The insurance company is liable for your indemnity, otherwise known as lost wage payments, and medical benefits.
    Good luck and thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  21. Hi,

    Is it outrageous for an attorney to say he is going to take 33.33% of a settlement? My fiance just received a number from the insurance company and the lawyer is looking for 33.33. He is young and the settlement amount is for 6 years.

    Cara

  22. Hi Cara,
    I don’t know the specifics of your fiance’s case; however, in my opinion, it is outrageous for an attorney to take a 33% fee from a Workers’ Comp settlement.

    Currently this firm takes a 10% attorney’s fee in Workers’ Comp settlements and there are some firms that take a 15% fee. I can’t imagine taking a 33% fee in a Workers’ Comp case.

    Question 8 of Workers’ Comp Board form 32.1, which must be filed with the agreement asks the claimant if he or she agrees with attorney’s fee. My suggestion is for your fiance to answer NO. Also, at the hearing to approve the settlement, the Judge must approve the attorney’s fee. The Judge will ask your fiance if he agrees with the fee and again I would suggest that he answer NO.

    Thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  23. Hey Jill,
    I’ll take your asking as a compliment : ) Thank you!

    While this firm would certainly go to East Syracuse for personal injury or medical malpractice, we only do Workers’ Compensation here in Elmira.

    I would encourage you to look around for an attorney in your area who you feel like you can work with.

    Good luck and Happy New Year!
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  24. my question is what does a classification seeor c mean in terms of how much the lawyer will be compensated.

  25. Hi Ronak,
    The standard attorney’s fee for classification is 10 weeks of the claimant’s permanent rate. This fee compensates the attorney for work done in the case for permanency as well as, to some degree, work that the attorney will perform in the future. I hope that answers your question.

    Thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  26. I received a letter from NYS Workers Compensation Board in reference to acquisition of my private information. Basically it is stating that my case file was improperly accessed by Health Care Subrogation Group without authorization and accessed my name and social security number.

    They said that the info hasn’t been used and the files in possession of hcsg have been destroyed. What I am concerned with is the fact that they still have my social security number and I am now thinking of a law suit against the board. Do I have the right? What can I do about this? I’m very concerned about this HCSG having my personal information.

    Thank you!

    If you need, here is the full context of the letter:

    Re: Acquisition of Your Private Information

    Dear Injured Worker:
    The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (Board) has determined that private information contained within your workers’ compensation case file was improperly accessed by Health Care Subrogation Group (HCSG), a company hired by health insurers to recover medical expenses from workers’ compensation carriers. Specifically, HCSG, without authorization, accessed documents in your Board file that contained your name and social security number.

    The Board’s investigation has revealed that HCSG did not use the improperly accessed files in any manner whatsoever. As soon as it was discovered that the files had been improperly accessed, HCSG secured and isolated these files. Please be advised that all improperly accessed files in the possession of the HCSG have been destroyed. In addition, the Board has taken corrective measures to insure that a breach of this type does not occur in the future.

    This notification is being provided to you in accordance with New York State Technology Law 208, which requires any state entity that owns or licenses computerized data that includes private information to disclose any breach of the system’s security following the discovery or notification of the breach to anyone whose private information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by a person without valid authorization. Although HCSG was authorized to access the case file management system in connection with other files, they were not authorized to access your file. Such access arguably constitutes a breach of the Board’s security system under the law.

    Any questions, comments or request for further information regarding this security breach should be addressed to:

    New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
    Office of General Counsel
    20 Park Street
    Albany, NY 12207

    and they list email and phone number of General Counsel…

    I thank you for any advice/help you can offer.

  27. Lynne:

    First, I am very sorry that this insurance carrier improperly accessed your private information. That is just plain wrong and you have every reason in the world to be angry.

    Second, although I will be the first to admit that I don’t have any particular expertise in lawsuits involving the improper disclosure of private information, generally for a person to have a viable lawsuit, you must be able to establish that you suffered some injury or financial damage. So the big question here is whether you have suffered any injury or financial damage due to this privacy breach? If so, you might have a case. If not, you probably do not have a case that an attorney would be willing to accept because it only makes sense to pursue those cases where you have hope of obtaining a sizable award for your client.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Thanks, Jim
    _________________________________________
    James B. Reed, Esq.
    Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14901
    Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
    mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

    Read my N.Y. Injury Blog at http://www.NYInjuryLawBlog.com

  28. I had a section 32 hearing today, at the hearing there was no application for fee from my former attorney on file with the WCB and I had not gotten anything in the mail from the attorney before the hearing. The judge checked the computer system and said that no application for fee was on file. In my paperwork I stated that I did not agree to pay the attorney any further fees other than those already paid to him as he was fired for failing to answer my questions or returning phone calls/emails. The WCB judge stated that there was no application for fee, and therefore, stated no award to the former attorney and approved the Section 32 agreement. When I came home from the hearing, in the mail was something from my former attorney (who had been on notification for fee purposes of today’s hearing and was aware that we were going to a section 32 today) had sent an invoice and application for fee dated yesterday and mailed it out yesterday. What happens now? Will the case have to go back for another hearing or does the attorney loose out because he did not get the paperwork in to the WCB in time?

  29. Patrick,
    You’ve got unusual sitution and it’s difficult to know what the Workers’ Compensation Board will do. Because there my be another hearing, I recommend that you not make any commitments with settlement money until you actually get it. I also recommend that call the Workers’ Compensation Board and ask to discuss this situation with the examiner on your case.
    Thanks for reading,
    Eric

    ___________________________________________
    Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
    Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
    Tel: (607) 733-8866
    Fax: (607) 732-6062
    Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
    Email: [email protected]
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

  30. Eric I have a few questions, I was offered a settlement amount and agreed to it in September but when they did a MSA it came back high. So my lawyer and Carrier wanted me to go back to the doctor and get a letter stating I didnt want surgery which I did…My question now is, If I didnt want the surgery can the carrier reduce the amount they want to settle? Second after they recieved the letter, how long does it take to get the medicare set aside amount back?

  31. Brian:

    Sorry but Eric moved back to his home state of NC so our firm is no longer handling workers comp cases. However, my recommendation to you is that your question is so specific that it should be addressed to your current attorney– who presumably knows all the details of your case– rather than some outside attorney. In this kind of circumstance, where the approach that you use in pursuing your case can be so important, I am always reluctant to offer advice because it can be dangerous to do so when you don’t have ALL the details. I strongly urge you to meet ASAP with your attorney so you can ask your great questions and get the answers you deserve. I wish you the best of luck.

    Jim
    _________________________________
    James B. Reed
    NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    Mailto: [email protected]
    Office: (607)733-8866
    Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com
    Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
    NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

  32. I had a knee injury on 06/2009. I had surgery on 09/11/09. I didn’t get a lawyer until 3/22/11 the date when I got the SLU exam. SLU gives me 20%. The Insurance agrees with it. The lawyer submits yesterday the proposed Settlement order signed by both myself and the insurance company. He has done nothing basically. No hearings… nothing. He tells me that the Board will award him 15%. My understanding was that he will get 10%. I don’t agree with the 15% fee. What should I do?

    Thanks,
    Denis

  33. Denis:

    You are correct that the typical fee is 10% (at least in our area of Upstate NY). I would suggest you discuss the fee with him ahead of time and see if the two of you can reach an agreement on the fee.

    Good luck!

    Jim
    _________________________________
    James B. Reed
    NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
    Ziff Law Firm, LLP
    Mailto: [email protected]
    Office: (607)733-8866
    Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
    Web: http://www.zifflaw.com
    Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
    NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

  34. I have a workers compensation case for my deceased husband who died of asbestos cancer the award is $175,000.00 the lawyer is charging $25,000.00 plus expenses is this a fair price.
    Thank you for your answer

  35. Barb:

    Sorry but I don’t think it is responsible for me to comment on another attorney’s charges when I don’t have a clue how much time and expenses he invested in your case. However, I can tell you that any workers compensation attorney’s fee has to be approved by the Judge so if you have any concerns you about the fee you should discuss them with your attorney well in advance of the hearing and if he or she isn’t able to adequately explain his charges, you can let the Judge know about your concerns. Good luck.

    Jim

  36. Hi Jim,

    Nice and informative website. I have a question about SLU awards. I was injured over a year ago, broken right hip. I have been getting weekly payments since. Recently, my physician indicated that my leg impairment is 40% (C-4.3) The IME says that I have not reached MMI. I have done some research, but am not clear on the SLU award. If I get that award does that mean that I get no more weekly payments in the future?

    I am still unable to work, and I may have to use crutches for the rest of my life. Would it just be better to get weekly payments, as total temporary impaired, indefinitely, or until a 32 settlement offer and not get an SLU? I don’t want to fall on my face with an SLU award if it precludes future payments. Thanks so much for your time and advice.

    Andrew

  37. If the IME says that you have not reached MMI the Board will not make a permanency finding. You will have to wait until your doctor and the IME agree that you have reached MMI or your representative, if you have one will have to request a hearing and then either challenge the IME Report or request depositions.

    Once the Board finds that you have reached MMI you will either be found to have a permanent partial disability or be awarded an SLU. If you get an SLU it is less any payments made to you to the date of the award. Once the SLU is awarded you will no longer receive weekly indemnity payments. The SLU is like an advance payment and you would not be entitled to weekly payments until you have been out of work because of your work related injury long enough to equal the SLU award. When the SLU is awarded it will say how many weeks it is to cover.

    If you get a permanent partial disability award you will be entitled to weekly indemnity payments for a period of time that is determined by statute. You no longer get life time weekly benefits for permanent partial disability.

    My suggestion is that you should seek representation before you go any further with your case. You are at a critical stage in the process and should seek competent guidance.

    Good luck!

    Jim

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