The Workers’ Comp Practitioner in a Complex World
Over the years I have discovered that Workers’ Compensation is not an island. As I do a lot of training of the attorneys in this office one of the first things I point out to them is that workers’ compensation is a complex field and that it can interact with many other benefits and/or claims.
Your workers’ compensation attorney also needs to be familiar with many of the other areas of law including, but not limited to, personal injury/tort, criminal, contract, insurance, and employment.
With the increasing number of administrative agencies out there, the workers’ compensation attorney needs to know whether or not claims have been filed with various other entities such as EEOC, OSHA, and Retirement Boards.
A workers’ compensation attorney needs to work with the employer, the insurance company, and their TPA to know what claims are pending not only as a result of the workers’ compensation injury but may also be pending for other reasons out there which might influence the handling of the workers’ compensation case.
For example, if the applicant has a wrongful termination claim pending, it is important for the workers’ compensation attorney to know that as it will impact some of the discovery processes and how the case is brought to resolution. Also, if the injury was caused by a 3rd party, subrogation would be involved and that could affect how the underlying workers’ compensation case is managed.
The workers’ compensation attorney needs to make sure that they avoid any action that can be adversely used in other venues. For example, a Stipulation in the workers’ compensation case may be binding in a wage and hour action that is pending in another venue for a class action. Similarly, a Stipulation in the workers’ compensation claim may also have an impact in any personal injury claim dealing with employer fault and/or liability.
It is very important that the workers’ compensation attorney makes sure that they know the exact facts and the best forum to put those facts forward in to avoid handicapping and/or harming the employer and/or insurance company.
Communication needs to be kept open between the attorney and their clients in order to make sure that the best possible service and legal representation is provided.
I am pleased to say that I believe PKNW are leaders in this field and that we constantly work to provide our employers and insurance carriers with the best possible representation.