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Workers' Compensation


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The Cohn Law Firm handles many different types of personal injury cases. These include car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, Medical Malpractice, slip and fall accidents, workers' compensation accidents, and other similar injury cases.

These cases are based on the law of negligence, except for Workers' Compensation, which is based on a statute enacted by the Legislature to protect workers.


I. Initial Interview

The attorney must meet with you for an interview so that he might obtain all of the information needed to determine whether the Firm will take your case and thus help you. This information will include facts about yourself, your family, the accident, the person who caused the accident, and many other different items.

A medical authorization will have to be signed by the client so that we might obtain medical information.

Further, a release of information is often obtained from the client so that we might obtain other information about you which may be needed.

Finally, our contract of retainer must be signed in every case. The contract of retainer provides for a contingency fee agreement within the guidelines of the statutes and laws of the state of Tennessee. The contract provides that no attorney fees are paid unless we obtain a recovery for you either by settlement or by Judgment. It may further provide an increased percentage if the case is appealed to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of Tennessee or of the United States. Further, it also provides that the expenses of the case will be borne by the client. On occasion, we may advance some expenses for you, but these are not credited against attorney fees. This is your case and we certainly want you to maintain an interest in this case. Your financial participation, even though it is minimal, helps us ensure that you will maintain your interest in this case.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.


II. Procedure

A. After you leave the office, we will obtain an accident report if one exists from the Sheriff's Department, the Police Department, or whatever authority has the accident report. Further, we will contact your employer and your employer's Workmens' Compensation insurance carrier. We will try to obtain copies of your medical records from them. If you are not happy with their doctors, you should see your choice of doctor. We can use that doctor's opinion if it differs with the Insurance company's doctor. However, the doctor will be at your cost, or at the cost of your hospitalization insurance if it will cover it.

B. We will investigate the case and determine if you have a reasonable probability of having a successful case. We will either inform you that we do not wish to proceed, or we will proceed with the case. If we do not wish to proceed, then we will notify you that we are not proceeding and we will close our file.

IF WE DO NOT HAVE A WRITTEN CONTRACT SIGNED BY YOU, AND BY ALL NECESSARY PARTIES, THEN WE WILL NOT PROCEED AND WE WILL NOT INVESTIGATE YOUR CLAIM, even if we have opened a file.

C. If we decide to proceed to represent you, we will then send letters to all of your doctors, therapists, and hospitals to which you have been admitted either as an inpatient or as an outpatient and obtain your medical records and bills. We also try to obtain narrative reports from your physicians who treat you.

It is important that you see a medical specialist for each different affliction. Your injuries are not your fault, and you should not sacrifice adequate medical diagnosis for someone else's financial well being.

It is also important that you see your physician and continuously communicate to him the pain you are suffering or the progress that you are making. If a physician does not believe that you are suffering pain, and you continue to suffer pain, then you should obtain a new physician.

Your physicians may not release you for a substantial length of time. We will not settle your case until the physician has either released you, or given you a percentage of disability with an assessment of how much more treatment that you will need.

Once you contact us and inform us that the physician has released you, we will then obtain updated reports and bills from your physician.

D. We may also give you a form to be completed which will indicate how many days and hours you have missed from work because of this accident. If you are self-employed, we have a separate form for you to complete, but we will also need copies of your tax returns for the last three years. Only in this way can we obtain your lost wages for you.

E. We will need for you to provide us with the names of the physicians, doctors, and any other medical related providers that you have seen or see after the initial interview.

F. UNLESS WE RECEIVE A WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT FROM YOUR DOCTOR SIGNED BY YOU, WE HAVE THE OPTION OF PAYING YOUR PHYSICIANS DIRECTLY WITH SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS OR COLLECTED JUDGMENT FUNDS. On occasion, we may pay the physicians and/or hospitals directly from recovered funds. We may also pay those funds directly to you and allow you to pay the medical providers. Pursuant to the contract, that is our option.

G. Further, we will need you to provide us with a copy of all items for which you have lost money because of this accident. This includes estimates from body shops for your property damage, and estimates to replace personal property items lost or damaged in the accident. We will need copies of invoices (if available) showing what you paid originally for items which would have been lost or damaged in the accident. Further, we would need copies of any receipts for the purchase of new glasses, new dentures, or any other items which you have had to purchase as a result of this accident.

H. Costs are the responsibility of the client. These must be paid in advance.

Costs prior to the filing of a lawsuit are generally less than $150.00, unless an investigator is hired for special investigation, or unless doctors must be obtained for evaluation of a medical malpractice case, in which the event the cost would be $650.00 and up.

The filing of a lawsuit for negligence commonly requires a filing fee to the Court of approximately $350.00; deposition costs for a Court Reporter and for Expert Witnesses (this may include but is not limited to dentists, doctors, engineers, vocational specialists, psychologists, accident reconstructionists, and investigators) of from $300.00 to $5,000.00; costs for blow up pictures and diagrams, photocopies, travel, and clerks fees.


III. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

In Tennessee, THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IN Workers' Compensation ACTIONS (injuries to the person) IS ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF THE INJURY, OR ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN OF THE INJURY. Sometimes where there is a continuous buildup of an injury, such as a progressively deteriorating back, the time limit is a little less restrictive. The Statute of Limitations for property damage (not injuries to the person) is three years from the date the accident happens.

Many times, the client is not released until very near the end of the year. We must file the lawsuit, however, before the year expires.

As you can see, these type of cases can take a very long time. We do not like to settle these cases quickly because a quick settlement may mean that certain delayed injuries or delayed reactions to injuries or other consequent problems you might experience may not be compensated.

Once the case is settled or Judgment in a lawsuit is entered, you cannot then go back and sue for more. If you cannot stand up the next day after the settlement or judgment, the odds are that you are not going to be able to obtain any more compensation. Therefore, it is important that the case be properly administered, analyzed, and a settlement in the proper amount be obtained.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.


IV. SETTLEMENT

At some point in time, we will have obtained all of the information and we will submit a demand letter to the insurance company of the defendant or to the defendant. We will try to obtain for you all of your medical expenses, medical reports, lost wages, property damage, and any other damages you may have.

We cannot obtain an amount for you to compensate you for the pain that you have suffered. This is not allowed in Workers' Compensation. In return, the legislature has included in the law that your fault is NOT an issue. That is the trade off. Further, your sole remedy against your employer is the Workers' Compensation Lawsuit. You cannot sue him for negligence, even if the employer kept someone on the payroll who punched you. You can sue a third party such as another vehicle who hit your employer's truck which you were driving; but workers' compensation insurance gets paid back first from any proceeds for any medical bills that the insurance or the employer has paid for you and for any benefits that the insurance or the employer has paid to you. This is called their right of subrogation.

If we cannot obtain a settlement directly with the employer or its insurance company, we can arrange a settlement conference presided upon by the state of Tennessee Department of Labor. This is a mediation proceeding.

If there are any broken bones, broken teeth, bad cuts, bad bruises or other items which a jury would first hand understand to be more painful, then we will be able to obtain a larger settlement.

If there is any permanent disability or permanent disfigurement, this obviously would lead to a still larger settlement. Further medical expenses may also be considered. Obviously psychological damage, if present, will still further increase the amount of the settlement.

In any event, the final decision as to whether or not to accept a settlement will be yours. We will be happy to make a recommendation upon your request and to explain how we arrived at our recommendation and demand. However, the final decision will be yours.


V. LAWSUIT

Should you decide that the insurance company is not dealing in good faith, you may want to sue. Please understand that the insurance company is in business to make money. Rarely do they offer the lawyer anywhere near what could be obtained in trial, and more rarely still would the insurance company offer an individual without a lawyer anything more than his medical payments and an amount to fix your car. "Good Faith" interferes with the insurance company's "profit", and the adjusters "bonuses" and "promotions", and good faith is therefore not in the vocabulary of the insurance company. To make a long story short, the insurance company is not interested in your best interests. You are not their insured.

A lawsuit involves filing a Complaint. The defendant files an Answer. Each party may serve written questions on the other party, and the party must file written answers. Each party may request documents, and these documents must be produced. Depositions may be taken of the parties and the witnesses. This is where the lawyers and the party or a witness sit down before a court reporter, and the lawyers ask the party or witness questions. The court reporter records the questions and answers, and types it up for the lawyers to use at trial.

There may be Motions filed and argued. This is where a Judge decides questions of law upon which the lawyers disagree prior to trial. The Judge may also, upon motion of one of the lawyers, dismiss the case, or grant a Judgment to one of the parties without a trial. This is called a Summary Judgment and means that the Judge has decided that there is no need to have a trial on one issue or on all issues.

There are expert witnesses which must be hired. These costs money, as do doctors who are going to testify, even if the doctors testify by deposition. Investigations and court reporters are another common source of expenses.

Finally, there is trial. This will last from two days to two weeks, and possibly more.

A Judgment is entered either for you or against you. This can be appealed to the State Court of Appeals (or to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals if your trial is in Federal Court). After the Court of Appeals rules, you must ask for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court of Tennessee (or the Supreme Court of the United States if your case is in Federal Court). During the appeal time, your Judgment is accruing interest.

After the appeal process is over, if you have won, we can then obtain payment if there is an insurance company involved. If not, we must utilize our knowledge of post-judgment collection procedures to collect your money. It is possible that your Judgment will be uncollectible if the defendant has no money and no insurance.


VI. DAMAGES

These are the items for which you should be compensated by the defendant under the law of the state of Tennessee. The lawyer will explain these to you as they vary from case to case.

Representative cases:

McGaughy, et al v. MLG & W Electrocution Judgment for $450,000.00

Cole & Cole v. Nichols Car Accident Judgment for $107,500.00

Jury verdict

 

Settlements (which are not public record)

motorcycle- $145,000.00

truck/car accident $105,000.00

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

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Phone: 901-757-5557
Cordova (Memphis), Tennessee

Talk to another attorney and talk to us.
Judge the difference.