How much is my workers’ compensation case worth?
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by current clients and injured workers is: how much is my workers’ comp case worth? How much compensation and money can I get?
Like most questions in the law, the answer really is: it depends.
First, it will depend on the extent and nature of your injuries. One of the biggest factors concerning the amount of compensation that you can receive in your workers’ compensation case really depends on the type of injury that you’ve sustained in your work accident. After you have received medical treatment and therapy, you’ll be evaluated by an independent state doctor otherwise known as a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) who will review your medical history, perform a physical evaluation, and write a lengthy report to determine your level of permanent disability. They will apply a book called the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides 5th Edition to determine your level of disability. Based on the opinions of the state doctor, you will receive a permanent disability expressed as a percentage from 0% to 100%.
Our lawyers have the experience, skills, and knowledge to understand and interpret these reports. We know how to read them and how to identify parts of the report that we can improve to help increase the doctor’s opinion about your level of disability. Our lawyers understand the Medical Guides well and we know how to determine if a state doctor has applied the Medical Guides correctly or if the state doctor has written his report incorrectly. We oftentimes find that state doctors will overlook a relevant MRI or a relevant medical report and that can cause the doctor to provide a low disability report. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to meet with you and review the QME report in conjunction with your medical history to see if we can help and add value to your case.
So how exactly can a workers’ compensation attorney from our law firm add value to your case if you have a QME report? Well, after we read a report from a state doctor, we can determine if there is a need for additional state doctors from other specialties that are necessary to address other injuries – for example, you may still need a state doctor to evaluate your headaches (neurology) or a state doctor to address your heart condition (internal medicine) or a psychologist to address the stress resulting from your injury. Our lawyers will read the state doctor report and will determine if we need to write to the state doctor to request a supplemental report or if we need to depose the state doctor and visit their office and ask them questions in person.
In a recent case, our attorney reviewed a QME report from a prospective client and realized that the state doctor did not take into consideration how the injury had impacted our client’s station and gait – the way that they stood up and walked. Our lawyer then proceeded to depose and ask the state doctor questions asking the state doctor to reconsider his prior opinion and our law firm was successful in getting the state doctor to change his opinion, which resulted in doubling the disability percentage for our client and doubling his compensation!
The bottom line is this – if you don’t know how much your case is worth and you have seen a QME state doctor or if the insurance company is asking you to see a state doctor, then give our law firm a call so that one of our workers’ comp lawyers can speak with you and help assess the next steps and determine how to best approach the QME process.
Feel free to call our office and speak with a Franco Munoz lawyer at (510) 257-4141. We’ll gladly provide you with a free consultation to see if we can help you with your QME report or the QME process.