In the fall of 2008, A.R. sustained a hernia injury as a result of a work-related accident. Even after having surgery for this injury, the hernia caused him chronic pain and discomfort. A.R. contacted Pothitakis Law Firm in April of 2010. Prior to contacting us, A.R. had worked with another attorney who scheduled the case for hearing in June of 2010 in Des Moines. Not satisfied with his prior attorney's work, A.R. hired Pothitakis Law Firm. Mr. Pothitakis immediately began working on the case to prepare it for trial.
The insurance company indicated that they were interested in settling the case for approximately $75,000 and would expect A.R. to close his claim in full. After consulting with Pothitakis Law Firm, A.R. agreed that this offer was not sufficient and so they proceeded to hearing. A couple of months after the hearing, a decision was reached which found A.R. to be 100% disabled and entitled to weekly Workers' Compensation benefits for the rest of his life. Contrary to the settlement offer from the insurance company, the Claimant was awarded weekly benefits forever, and in addition, the insurance company would have to pay for all of his medical bills. The total award was in excess of $450,000.
A.R. informed Pothitakis Law Firm of his interest in receiving his benefits in a lump sum as opposed to weekly benefits in the future. In order to accomplish this for the Claimant, Pothitakis Law Firm filed a “Partial Commutation Action” requesting that the Workers' Compensation Commissioner award all of his benefits in a lump sum and leaving his medical care open. The case was filed by Pothitakis Law Firm. Mr. Pothitakis hired an expert to give an opinion as to why it is in the best interest of the Claimant to receive a lump sum payment in excess of $450,000 as opposed to getting weekly compensation for life. Shortly before the commutation hearing the case was settled.
This case is a great example of the importance of fully evaluating a claim prior to settling with the insurance company. The offer from the insurance company may be in their best interest and not in the best interest of the worker who was injured.