When it comes to new situations there are two things working against you. First, you don’t know the ropes. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of a particular subject or issue, and you cannot always make the best decisions because you do not have all the information. For example, if you move to a new city, you are probably going to spend a little too much money getting around and getting your bearings for a while before understanding the most efficient way to get from place to place.
Second, you tend to err on the side of modesty because you do not know the way things work yet. You do not want to make bold claims or take risks until you know better what options are available to you.
Dealing with the Unknown – A Claimant’s Dilemma in a Defense Base Act Case
In the Defense Base Act context, unless you have filed a workers’ compensation claim before for a serious injury, both “new situation” issues are working against you there as well. It is unlikely that you will have any frame of reference with regard to how the whole Defense Base Act claims process works. In short, you don’t know the ropes, and that could result in a great deal of stress, particularly when you are dealing with an injury on top of it all.
Also, when it comes time to settling a Defense Base Act claim, you might undercut yourself because you do not know what an appropriate or inappropriate settlement offer might be. We often tend to be “modest” and think that we cannot ask for a large sum of money when we are uncomfortable in an unknown situation like settlement negotiations.
That is why we are going to talk a little about settlement matters for Defense Base Act claims in this blog. Knowing a few tips about how to calculate your settlement and the Department of Labor’s role in the settlement process can make all the difference with regard to your recovery and your Defense Base Act benefits.
Of course, the way to ensure that you will get the maximum compensation for your Defense Base Act claim is to engage the services of an attorney who specializes in Defense Base Act work. The attorneys at Doolittle & Tucker, P.A., do just that. We at Doolittle & Tucker are Defense Base Act claims attorneys in Florida, and we understand the process from ‘soup to nuts.’ We can assist you and guide you through the process to make sure that you maximize your benefit. We care deeply about those injured at work getting the compensation they deserve. So, call us today at 904-396-1734.
Understanding the Settlement Process
If you are injured on the job, and you are covered under the Defense Base Act, then you need to file a Defense Base Act claim. Quite often making the claim itself can be a complicated process because you have to marshal documents and medical reports, meet deadlines, and file with both your employer and the Department of Labor.
In addition to that process, there is also a settlement process. You need to engage in a back-and-forth with the employer or your employer’s insurance company. Then, if you reach a settlement with the insurance company there is another step. You and the insurance carrier need to present the settlement to the Department of Labor to ensure that the settlement is fair. That all must occur before you receive any compensation.
So, you may be asking: when I negotiate with the insurance carrier, how much should I ask for? How much is an appropriate settlement figure, and how much is an inappropriate one? What would be fair?
Fairness, as you would expect, depends upon the circumstances of your case. Yet, as we discussed above, you do not want to undercut your compensation, or agree to a too-low settlement offer solely because you were overwhelmed by all the unknowns in the process. Here is a way in which to know how to calculate what a fair settlement might look like.
Computing A Defense Base Act Settlement
The key to calculating a fair settlement in your case is to make sure that you remember all of the costs that result from your work injury. Note that the insurance carrier will surely work to keep the benefits number low, so you should be sure not to forget a certain type of compensation that is owed to you. Here are the components you need to get dollar figures for, so you do not undercut yourself in settlement negotiations:
- All doctor and medical expenses,
- Medical expenses you will have in the future,
- Both past and future lost wages,
- Compensation for long-term or total disability, and your ability to work in the future.
You are entitled to have all of your medical expenses covered. You were injured while at work, doing a job for your employer. Your employer needs to cover the doctor, hospital, and rehabilitation bills that come with treatment. Also, make sure that you consider how much future medical expenses will be, particularly if you have a condition that will last into the future.
With regard to lost wages, that can be a challenging aspect of a settlement negotiation. What is vital for you is to come up with a reasonable, appropriate average weekly wage (AWW), which is the number used to calculate your Defense Base Act benefits.
Finally, make sure that you have information from you doctors on the extent of your disability and whether you will be able to work in the same field you were working in before the injury.
In sum, make sure you know what you, and your injury, are worth. That is so that an insurance carrier will not be able to grind you down in settlement negotiations.
Defense Base Act Attorneys in Florida are Here to Guide Your Settlement Process
Doolittle & Tucker, P.A. is a boutique law firm with the sole purpose of providing relief to individuals who are injured. All too often, we see legitimate claims denied by egregious insurance companies that view an injured individual as nothing but a fraud, rather than a human being who needs help. For 25 years, we have established an exceptional reputation across the country for zealously and relentlessly representing our clients, while maintaining the utmost professionalism. We strive to be the most credible, ethical, and professional Defense Base Act attorneys in Florida. Call us at Doolittle & Tucker, 904-396-1734. We are available 24/7 to help you.