Workers’ Compensation Liens: Plenty of Room for Disagreement
If you file a workers’ compensation claim and your employer pays for your treatment through its workers’ compensation insurance, you can’t file any lawsuits in relation to your work injury, right? It’s not that simple. If a third party (anyone except your employer) was responsible for causing the accident, you can still file a lawsuit against that party; you just can’t sue your employer. For example, if you are a caterer driving food to an event, and you get hit by a drunk driver, you can file a lawsuit against the driver, or even against the bar that served alcohol to the drunk driver. If you do, this, though, things can get even more complicated than if you had just gotten one or the other, the workers’ comp benefits or the personal injury settlement. If you get both, there is a complicated process of settling up between the entities involved, known as a workers’ compensation lien. The best way to avoid having to give up money to which you are rightfully entitled is to contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs, to discuss possible workers’ compensation lien scenarios and choose the best course of action.
How Much Money Is Left for You After You Pay a Workers’ Compensation Lien?
Workers’ compensation liens are just one example of when the “sticker price” of the settlement or judgment in a personal injury case is a much bigger amount than what ends up in the injured plaintiff’s pocket. When you get injured in an accident at work, you need treatment immediately, and your employer gets the treatment started quickly. It tends to be the cheapest treatment instead of the most effective, but at least you get medical care before your injuries have a chance to get worse. Meanwhile, there is nothing quick about personal injury (PI) lawsuits. It can take years to reach a settlement. Unless your injuries are permanent, you might have already completed your treatment by the time you receive any money in your personal injury case. People whose injuries are not work-related use their PI settlements to pay off the mountain of medical bills that accumulated after the accident. In the case of work injuries, though, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance paid your bills, so you must reimburse your employer out of the PI settlement for what your employer paid for your treatment.
How much is the workers’ compensation lien? That’s where things get really complicated. The Florida Supreme Court case Manfredo v. Employer’s Casualty Insurance Company established a formula for calculating the workers’ compensation lien. The problem is that almost all the values in the Manfredo formula are up for discussion. Unless you have a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side, you could end up with little or no money left from your PI settlement by the time your case finishes.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
A Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer can help you negotiate a fair amount to pay for a workers’ compensation lien or, if you act early enough, can help you avoid paying one altogether. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for help with your case.