Do insurance companies underpay workers’ compensation benefits? Can you trust the work comp carrier to provide required benefits? I know the answers to these questions. But, don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the insurance industry’s own research!
A recent article in the Claims Journal (an insurance industry publication) discussed settlement data gathered by insurance companies across the United States. Of course, the insurance companies complain that lawyers make claims much more costly for them. The real truth behind the data — Attorneys add substantial overall value to workers’ compensation claims. Here is a fact from their research:
Median values rose 739 percent when attorneys became involved in a claim.
Think about that. The average value of an injured worker’s claim increases over 7 times when a skilled attorney helps. Honestly, I don’t need insurance data to tell me that. I talk to injured workers every day. What leads to their calls? Wrongful denials by the insurance company. Lowball, unjust settlement offers by the insurance company.
Can an attorney help in every claim? Certainly not. At our office, we regularly provide free advice. If the insurance company made the injured caller a fair offer, we tell them. If pursuing a case is not likely to benefit the injured caller, we tell them. We have a firm philosophy to only accept cases where an opportunity to substantially help the client exists. That’s a philosophy centering around what is best for each unique injured client.
The insurance industry wrongly spins the article to argue attorneys make claims more costly. Costly to whom? Claims may be more costly for insurance companies. Yet, skilled lawyers are simply forcing the insurance companies to pay what they should have paid in the first place. Insurance companies are complaining because they might have to pay the benefits injured workers are legally entitled to receive! When injured workers do not receive needed benefits, the cost to their families is tremendous.
What is the truth? It is this — Insurance companies frequently pay injured workers less (much less) than Alabama law really provides for claims. Insurance companies often shaft workers with serious injuries and real disabilities.
Why are some cases so much more valuable with attorney involvement? I can only speak for claims in Alabama. I have tried these cases in courts across Alabama for over two decades. And, I think the better question is this — What are the ways insurance companies unfairly and improperly pay such low benefits? Here are five ways insurance companies take advantage of injured workers when paying benefits to them:
- Failing to pay temporary disability benefits
- Stopping temporary disability benefits too soon
- Using the wrong formula for permanent disability benefits
- Conditioning settlements upon a closure of medical benefits
- Denying valid claims
Workers’ compensation was originally intended to be a simple and efficient system for providing necessary medical treatment and some disability benefits. Yet, insurance companies have consistently denied, delayed, or underpaid, required benefits. Year after year, insurance companies have worked overtime to take a simple system and complicate the process in order to increase their profits. Because of this, injured workers often need an advocate with real trial experience in these claims.
At the Blackwell Law Firm, we represent injured workers across Alabama. We have pursued Alabama workers’ compensation cases to trial in counties across the state. If you have questions, give us a call. Consultations are always free and confidential.