By rule, we almost always recommend to an injured worker that they formally file their case. Once we are representing them we can protect them from nurse case managers who are ill intentioned and guide them through the process. It also allows us to act fast if their case is denied for any reason.
There is an exception to every rule of course and we came across it recently. A woman who uses her hands all day has carpal tunnel syndrome. Normally that would be a slam dunk case from our standpoint. And she’s facing bilateral surgery so getting a lawyer is a good idea.
In her case though, she also has diabetes and neuropathy in her legs which are two things that can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, she had only been employed for a few months. So there are some potential good defenses to her case.
The most important thing is her health and getting her wrists fixed. If we file a case now, it will be denied by the work comp insurance and also denied by her group insurance carrier. So by waiting, we know for certain she can get the surgery and hopefully get better.
When she has the surgery, the operative report will tell us if there is compression on the median nerve. If there is, it’s a sign that the injury was caused by activity and not her other health issues. If it says that, we’ll file the case and likely win. The group insurance will get paid back and she’ll get benefits. But if it doesn’t say that then we’ll know that the case is likely not a winner. The doctor’s notes will also be revealing.
It’s an unusual strategy, but if you care about the health of a potential client, sometimes not filing the case is best. A lot of firms would have filed the case just hoping to make money some day, but that’s not in the client’s best interests.
I certainly can’t take credit for what I see is a great strategy. This was actually done by a lawyer we work with for injuries in Bloomington, IL as part of our state wide network. That’s why we created our network in the first place. We can’t promise you a result, but we do guarantee that we’ll put you in the hands of attorneys who will put your interests firsts and have incredible experience. If either of those things were missing, this woman would likely have to wait a year or more for surgery.
And while it’s likely we’ll never see a penny from the time we spent with her, nothing pleases me more than calls like this. We, like most lawyers I know, actually went to law school hoping to help people. You can’t always do that, but when you do it’s incredibly rewarding.