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  • #16
    Your IC should have a lawyer on retainer if not on staff. Yes, it will cost, but personally, once you get into this kind of claim, it is worth every penny. If he is not represented, then there is some value in keeping the lawyers out of it at least on an official level. Nothing sends a pro se claiment to a lawyer faster than getting a letter from the defense counsel.

    I'm hesitant to advise you too much, and absolutely this is your decision and needs to be discussed with the powers that be, both within your organization and the IC. I would have fought paying him once light duty was offered and he declined and was off for an unrelated medical reason. However, in the grand scheme, you will spend more in litigation costs than you paid in TTD for those few weeks. I would cut it off now and have a nice long talk with the carrier about having paid it in the first place.

    If he is claiming ongoing nerve damage and missed 20 days of work, yeah, I'd say it is worth settling out. I would absolutely insist on a labor release and covenant not to return to work. That you will need a lawyer to draft but again, your IC should have a boilerplate agreement and legal counsel that can handle this behind the scenes for minimal cost.

    If you want to have this guy continue to work for you, which I would not suggest as he has already refused to work for you twice and been there less than 6 months, settlement is probably not the way to go. I'd just keep this claim going and manage it closely from here. Possibly put a nurse case manager on it.

    As for dollar amount, I hate to say what is reasonable. I will say that a lot depends on how you word the settlement and what is and is not excluded. For example, if you are picking up any and all related meds, I'd settle a lot lower than if you stipulate that no meds that have not already been paid will be, and you know that there are at least a few doctor visits outstanding. I have my own philosophy about that, but you need to talk to the IC and find out what is outstanding, what has been paid, and what they are comfortable carrying. Overall the amounts they are talking about are not far from what I've found to be typical for this sort of situation.

    One thing that a lawyer I highly respect told me which made it easier to accept when it felt like I was paying someone to just go away when there wasn't a meritorious claim behind it was that the purpose of the settlement, is to buy peace. A well drafted settlement means that you don't have to worry about this person or their claim any longer and can move on. You don't have to worry about dragging things out with him.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #17
      Thank you for the advice, we are a small family owned company that has never had to deal with this type of issue before. I really have to laugh when people say how lucky we are to own a company, and make all of the rules. They never seem to realize the time, commitment and stress that goes along with it. Life moves on, and the peace of mind may be worth the settlement. I just have to give in to someone who I believe is working the system.
      Thanks, TM

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      • #18
        Trust me, it isn't any easier being the "one who makes the rules" for a larger organization either. The rule that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction is not limited to physics.

        I completely understand the reluctance to settle out with someone who is working the system. Trust me, I've been there many times. However, it does help to keep in mind that this person is not going to get rich off a 10K settlement. Neither is it going to break the bank or drive up your premiums.
        Karma does have a way of catching up to folks too.

        The cost of keeping a bad egg on principle and allowing them to spoil the workplace can be much higher. Trust me when I say that other employees are watching and probably are aware of far more than you suspect. Allowing this person to continue working the system is far more detrimental in the long run than nipping it in the bud now.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #19
          TM,
          It is people like this employee who ruin it for people who do get hurt on the job. No wonder why employer's fire people, can't blame them when stuff like this happens. If I was in your position I would spend 20k on a lawyer rather then letting him have 10k, course that is just me. Hope your outcome with this is better then you anticipate.

          I recieved a phone call from the ins carrier when they found out I didn't have a lawyer wanting to know if I was interested in settling, caught me off gaurd, talked for about 5 mins and that was the end of it. Can't settle anyways right now. I guess lawyers like to settle cases, keeps them working.

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          • #20
            Spending the money on a lawyer isn't going to get you out of paying the employee/claimant.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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