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What Is Your California Workers’ Compensation Case Worth?

Ok. You thought what never could happen has happened. Because of that belief, you are not mentally prepared for this setback. This can be a very scary time for an injured worker with a significant injury. The fear of not being able to continue working in an occupation you always have told yourself was more than tolerable, if not outright enjoyable, persists. How are you going to continue to support your family and keep current with your bills? How long will you be out of work? If you need to be retrained, will you enjoy your new occupation? Is your employer’s insurance company going to treat you coldly, just like a number, and fight you every step of the way? Or, will they have compassion and help you in your recovery whenever they can? What if you can never work again? How can you live in chronic pain? All of these are thoughts and questions that injured workers ask themselves and may eventually lead them to this question? How much is your workers’ compensation case worth?

If injured workers knew the answer to that question, it might relieve him or her of a lot of pressure and stress in this unwelcome and unfamiliar situation. If you spend time on social media or the internet, you may have seen a “Workers’ Compensation Case Calculator”. A common response from applicant attorneys, who see these calculators, is to shake their heads and laugh. Most workers’ compensation attorneys think these calculators are rudimentary, disingenuous, and outright misleading because every individual case is unique. To put facts into these calculators to generate a figure to determine what their case is worth, without talking to anyone, is indeed laughable.

Workers’ Compensation cases are valued on two main factors. The first factor is the level of Permanent Disability. Permanent Disability is expressed in a percentage. Zero percent Permanent Disability is as if the injury never happened. One hundred percent Permanent Disability is the equivalent to a quadriplegic, never working again. All percentages of Permanent Disability have dollar values, for example, a 10% level of Permanent Disability has a dollar value of about $8,700.

When a workers’ compensation attorney is looking at the value a case, particularly a lump sum settlement to the injured worker, they are looking at two primary things, the dollar amount of the Permanent Disability and the dollar value of buying out the injured workers’ right to future medical care. The Permanent Disability is typically established by either a Primary Treating Physician or a Medical Legal Evaluator. Permanent Disability is determined by a book called “The American Medical Association Guides to Whole Person Impairment.” Attorneys take the level of whole person impairment (WPI) provided by the Primary Treating Physician or a Medical Legal Evaluator and then adjust that number by the injured worker’s age and by the injured worker’s occupation to come up with a final Permanent Disability Rating. At that point, your attorney uses permanent disability indemnity charts to determine the final dollar value of permanent disability.

Once that Permanent Disability Value is established, your attorney will determine the dollar value of future medical care. That value is not nearly as cut and dry as the level of Permanent Disability. Future medical care costs vary greatly from individual to individual. For instance, a young person with a knee injury may have had a meniscal tear and has had surgery. The doctor has told them that later down the road; they may need a total knee replacement. A knee replacement isn’t undertaken with patients under the age of 50. When a doctor says an injured worker may need future surgery, the present value of future medical care is going to be significantly higher than a doctor who is offering an opinion that someone may only need medication and physical therapy for injury flare-ups.

Nine times out of ten, a workers’ compensation attorney will get a higher settlement amount than if the injured worker attempts to litigate their case themselves. Attorneys make sure that every body part has been addressed. For example, an injured worker may come in with a knee injury and they have had an antalgic gate for months. In an effort to protect the knee that is injured, they develop pain in the opposite knee from overuse. An insurance company is not going to add the opposite knee to their injury, but a workers’ compensation attorney knows to sit down with the client and find out exactly what’s hurting.

Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer:

We hope this answers some questions you may have about how much is your California workers’ compensation case is worth. For any additional questions please call The Law Office of Alice A. Strömbom at 916-444-7557 for your free consultation. We’re here for you.


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