In April of 2010, Pothitakis Law Firm was contacted by an individual who has been injured in an Iowa work-related accident in the fall of 2008, and was in need of an Iowa workers compensation lawyer. A.R. had sustained a hernia injury and despite surgery, it continued to cause him chronic pain and discomfort.
A.R. had worked with an Iowa workers compensation lawyer prior to contacting Pothitakis Law Firm and that attorney had scheduled the case for hearing in Des Moines in June of 2010. A.R. was not happy with his prior attorney’s work and hired Pothitakis Law Firm to be his Iowa workers compensation lawyer. Mr. Pothitakis immediately commenced work on the case and prepared it for trial.
The insurance company contacted Mr. Pothitakis and indicated that they had an interest in settling the case for somewhere around $75,000. They would expect A.R. to close his claim in full. After consultation with Mr. Pothitakis, A.R. agreed that the offer was not sufficient and that he would proceed to hearing. A few months after hearing, a decision was received. The said decision found A.R. to be 100% disabled and entitled to weekly Iowa Workers' Compensation checks the remainder of his life. Contrary to the settlement offer from the insurance company, the Claimant was entitled to weekly benefits for the rest of his life plus the insurance company would also have to pay for all of his medical care. The present value of the Decision was in excess of $450,000.
As Workers' Compensation Decisions awarded benefits on a weekly basis into the future, A.R. informed Pothitakis Law Firm that he wanted to receive his benefits in a lump sum. To do so, the Pothitakis Law Firm has filed what is called a “Partial Commutation Action” which requests that the Workers' Compensation Commissioner award all of his benefits in a lump sum and also leave his medical open. Pothitakis Law Firm has filed the case and has hired an expert to give an opinion why it’s in A.R.’s best interest to receive a lump sum payment in excess of $450,000 as opposed to receiving a weekly benefit. Before the Commutation hearing the case was settled for a confidential amount satisfactory to A.R.
This case illustrates the importance of fully evaluating a claim before accepting a settlement from the insurance company. An offer of settlement from an insurance company may be because they find it in their best interest, not the best interest of the injured worker.