Settlement amounts in Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation claims are influenced by many factors.

      First and foremost, you need a good lawyer.

      I often joke that a lawyer's first advice is always, "Get a lawyer,"  but when it comes to making a full value settlement in a Pennsylvania workers' compensation claim, it is a necessity. 

       Insurance companies and employers always value cases based on what it would cost to settle vs. what would be their long-term exposure if they instead fight to block, stop or limit the claimant's compensation in court.  Importantly, this includes the risk to them of losing in court.  If the claimant has no attorney, they don't take seriously the prospect of losing in court, and they dramatically undervalue the claim for purposes of any settlement. 

      Since they value cases based on their odds of success in current or potentential future litigation, the insurance company is unlikely to offer anything more than a very limited settlement to a claimant who has no attorney.  Not only because the claimant has no attorney to respond to litigation, but also because a claimant without an attorney is less likely to have secured the kind of evidenciary support needed to respond to litigation or to advance their own rights. 

      The insurer and employer certainly factor in the extent to which the claimant is prepared to respond to litigation, even if no litigation is actively pending.  A claimant without an attorney is never well equiped to respond aggressively.  Insurers will try to exploit this and will make only a lowball offer, and at the same time try to make the injured worker feel that a settlement on the insurance carrier's terms is in the worker's best interests.  Every element of the insurer's contact with an unrepresented claimant will be designed to convince the injured worker that the insurer's lowest settlement proposal is the claimant's best or only option. 

      In more than twenty years of practice, I have never seen an insurance company or self-insured employer offer a claimant who has no attorney a full or even fair settlement value.  In my experience, the number they offer an unrepresented claimant is always considerably lower than the claimant should expect if represented by a good workers' compensation lawyer. 

      By way of example only, I recently compelled a workers' compensation insurance company to give my client a lump sum settlement of $167,500.00, where the prior offer to the claimant, before he retained my firm, was only $28,000.00.

      Since it costs nothing to talk to us, I strongly encourage you to at least call and discuss any settlement proposal before committing.  Know also that unless you have already attended a Compromise and Release hearing, it is not too late to contact us to discuss any settlement terms previously proposed by the insuer.  Again, we charge nothing for this.  We are only paid if you decide to formally make us your attorneys, and later accept a full value settlement we negotiate for you.  If you already have a settlement offer confirmed at the time you retain us, arrangements are made in our fee agreement to ensure you will NEVER lose any part of that settlement offer by paying us a fee.  Call us and we can explain.

      As a tough and experienced workers' compensation attorney, I will get you a full value settlement for your claim, should you decide to retain me and my firm after we speak.  In the meantime, talking to me costs you nothing.

      Settlement amounts are typically measured as multiple years of future compensation.  The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act itself has some  features that serve to limit an insurance carrier or employer's maximum long-term exposure for a given claim.  For example, the IRE (Impairment Rating Evaluation) mechanism discussed on another page on our site can, all by itself, explain why an insurer would rarely consider a settlement that pays as a lump sum as much as five full years of future compensation -- since they might do better just to invest that kind of sum and pay the claimant week to week , even where the claimant's evidence puts them at risk of a long-term exposure.    Certainly, one must have the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney, and one respected by the insurer, for a settlement approaching that range.    

      One big factor affecting the value of your workers' compensation claim is the strength or weakness of the medical support for your claim.  Perhaps even more important, however, is how strongly that evidence is presented to worker's compensation judge and/or to the insurance carrier in the context of litigation or negotiations. 

      The reputation of your attorney, his ability to use favorable evidence to advance your case, and his ability to deflect or counter insurance company arguments and evidence that works against you, are some of the most significant factors in the settlement value of your claim.

      If your claim does go into litigation, be it a Claim Petition, Termination Petition, Suspension Petition or Modification Petition, it is important to remember that the Workers' Compensation Judge who will decide the case never sees the entire volume of medical records relating to your claim.  The judge sees only what the attorneys properly enter into evidence.  How much weight the judge gives to a given bit of evidence, such as the testimony of a particular expert medical witness or a single point within that testimony, will depend on how the attorneys present that evidence and how it is emphasized (or downplayed) in the  course of the litigation, and in briefs and arguments to the Judge. 

      It is up to your attorney to make sure that the formal record reviewed by the Judge in your claim favors you, as strongly as possible.  You need your benefits, to pay your bills and to compensate you for your lost ability to work.  You need those benefits to continue, unless and until it makes sense for you to accept a lump sum settlement that truly compensates you based on the strongest possible understanding of the medical support.  It is critically important that you have a truly skilled and aggressive lawyer, and a lawyer who cares deeply that you win your case and who will make all of the right moves to maximize your rights and get you an absolute full-value lump sum settlement.

      Call us today to find out what we can do for you.  (484) 453-8144.

      For more information on factors affecting settlement value, continue reading below.

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CLIENT TESTIMONIALS:

I had a serious work related injury. I hired Tim after speaking with him and feeling completely at ease with his professionalism and demeanor. My case became complicated over time. Throughout the process I always felt that Tim had my best interest in mind. With every phone call or email, Tim was very informative and proactive, always explaining things in a way I could understand. He worked hard for me in his dealings with my employers insurance company. He did this so much so, the insurance company actually fired their own attorneys in the middle of litigation. In the end, Tim was able to negotiate a substantial settlement, including taking the burden off of me of an excessive amount of unpaid medical bills. I would highly recommend Tim.
                - B (Workers Compensation client)


"I" truly, Love / Respect and Appreciate - "Attorney: Timothy James Kennedy" for, his (highly, professional / unselfish {going, above and beyond} / highly, dedicated) approach in working with, me / my, un-fortunate circumstance(s) and my (unfortunate), legal dilemma... and, will (with; every, opportunity) be highly, recommending his legal services to (all) family / friends and strangers found in-need of such, ser-vices!!!
"Attorney: Timothy James Kennedy" is (not, only) a, true professional -He is a, loving / caring / sharing human being who (not, only) cares about his, cases and reputation; but, cares (also) for the lives and the families of those he so-caringly and so-humbly, represents!!!
He will (always) be appreciated and will never - ever - be, forgotten. "I" (on, behalf of myself and my, family) appreciates the fact that, He was willing to stop-by and become, "The Good Samaritan" in our, lives!!!
                - Michael (Workers Compensation Client)

Timothy is a really great lawyer. He knows what to do, and how to handle really sticky situations. When I first came to him, I had very little to back me up, but we mainly him lol pulled through and got the job done with GREAT results. If I could back in time I would still pick him as a lawyer 1000 times more. He took his time, talk to me like I was a person and not a dollor sign, and made lawyer jargon understandable english for me. I truely felt comfortable with him handling my case, and I never doubted him since the very first meeting. I also like that he gives his personal direct number to get in contact with him whenever you may need him, and he always responds if not that same day, the very next. The only bad thing I would have to say is its a shame I would have legal trouble to work with him again lol.
                -Trina (Workers Compensation Client)

Highly knowledgable in the law with excellent people skills..I highly recommend Mr. Kennedy.
                - Current Workers Compensation Client


As these testimonials reflect, we work very hard to satisfy our clients and to ensure the best results in handling their claims.  Call us now to let us explain how we can help you advance your rights and interests, so that you too can become a satisfied client.
                -Tim Kennedy
                (484) 453-8144




(c) 2012 TKO Web Publishing
      Other than the basic advice that you need the most competent and experienced workers' compensation attorney you can find, there are a great number of factors that play into the potential value of your claim.  Many of these factors can be influenced by the advice of a good attorney, but all will vary from one case to the next.

      Some of the things that will influence when and how much an insurance carrier or self-insured employer will pay as a lump sum settlement include the following:

1.  Whether or not you are currently receiving compensation, or merely pursuing a claim for benefits.

2.   If you are on compensation, how long have you been getting benefits to date?

3.   What treatment have you had in the past and what treatment are you getting now?

4.   What diagnosis or diagnoses have been documented by your doctors?

5.   Is your diagnosis one that carries the threat of long term disability?

6.   Have you had objective diagnostic tests or studies, such as MRI testing, EMG testing, Nerve Conduction studies, diagnostic ultrasounds, CT scans or the like?  If so, how have the results been documented?  Do they strongly support your diagnosis and injury, or are they being read as being normal or showing only minor findings?  Have the proper experts reviewed these studies?  Where the tests performed at the right time in relation to your injury and under the proper circumstances to give them proper weight as evidence?

7.    What "description of injury" has been acknowledged by the employer/insurer, in the formal documents controlling the claim?

8.    Do you have any related past medical history of injuries or problems affecting the same parts of your body involved in your work injury?

9.    Have you admitted and discussed your past medical history consistently with all doctors?  If not, can this be fixed before the insurance company uses any failure to report past medical history as a way to attack your credibility?

10.   Do your medical records suggest any credibility issues?  For example, are there notes claiming "symptom magnification" or notes expressing concerns regarding improper medication use, new injuries outside of work, or other problem issues?

11.   If there are elements in your records which the Judge may regard as negative, will there be time or opportunity to correct these concerns by further communication with the doctor or doctors, to explain away any problem issues or misunderstandings?

12.  Have you made any past attempts to return to work?  If so, what did the employer have you do, how did it affect your injury, and how did the employer treat you?

13.  Is the employer disputing the circumstances of your injury or the circumstances of a return to work attempt or offer?  Where there witnesses?  Can these witnesses be expected to tell the truth or will they lie or distort their testimony to please the employer?

14.   Is the employer in a position to offer further light duty?  Has it been offered to date? 

15.   Were you "fired" from the job?  If so, what reason was given?

16.   How much difference is there between what the insurance medical expert says you can do and what your own doctor would allow?

17.   Have you testified in the claim?  If so, how well did you explain your status?  What points were made against you in cross examination? Was your testimony fully consistent with the medical records, early reports of injury and other available evidence?

18.  Which Workers' Compensation Judge will be deciding your case?

19.   Do you have an attorney who is respected by the defendant attorney and the insurance carrier as someone who will fight hard and effectively if they try to "low-ball" you on settlement?

      A good workers' compensation attorney will carefully review every element of the available medical evidence with an awareness of what favorable points can be used to help your case and what problem points must be played down or converted to your benefit.  An experienced and competent workmans' comp lawyer will orchestrate the medical witness testimony in such a way that the formal record, reviewed by the Judge, favors your position as strongly as possible.

      This is how workers' compensation cases are won in litigation.  It is also how I make clear to insurance carriers the extent of their exposure, driving home the point that the settlement of your claim must be for full, maximum value.

      The listed factors appearing above are not the only considerations in your claim.  One big factor is often this: Just how good is the insurance company's attorney.  Note that while most are experienced and at least competent, some are far better and far more dangerous to your claim than others.  Fortunately, we can stack up against the toughest and most effective insurance company attorneys, to consistently get the results our clients expect.

      Understand that nearly all of the factors affecting the settlement value of your claim can be influenced by the competence, experience and aggressiveness of the workers' compensation attorneys you choose to represent you. The attorneys who represent the insurance carriers know this very well, as do the insurance company adjusters, who often control the purse strings.  These people know me.  They have seen, in case after case, the significant influence that strong, competent and unrelenting legal advocacy has on the settlement values they must approve.  I am proud to enjoy the reputation, acknowledged even by Workers' Compensation Judges, of an attorney who fights to obtain the maximum value for every case I settle.

      I am very selective in the cases I take.  My firm maintains a case volume sufficient to allow me to remain intimately, aggressively and actively engaged in every case.  We litigate circles around even the toughest and smartest adversaries.

      Call my office today, whether simply to discuss the potential settlement value of your specific claim or to set an appointment to retain us to move forward with your case and with negotiations for settlement: 484-453-8144.

Tim Kennedy is certified as a specialist in the practice of Workers' Compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Section on Workers' Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
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