Referral Services For Iowa Workers’ Compensation Cases
Gilloon, Wright & Hamel, P.C. welcomes referrals from other attorneys to assist with their Iowa work comp cases.
You may have clients with work comp claims which you do not want to handle on your own because of a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: geographic location, lack of familiarity with Iowa workers’ compensation law, too busy with other clients, or concerns about out-of-pocket litigation expenses. In all these situations we would be happy to talk to you about a referral of the claim.
We understand that some lawyers are hesitant to refer a case to another firm because of concerns about losing the client for future matters. Our policy is that we only represent the client on the work comp claim referred to us. If the client contacts us concerning other issues, we refer the client back to you.
We prefer to get involved in cases as early as possible. However, we do consider referral cases that are further along in the process.
We handle all of our referral cases pursuant to the requirements of Iowa Court Rule 32:1.5. Therefore, we enter into a written agreement with the referring attorney and the client which spells out that our firm will be doing the work on the case and the specific division of fees. This allows the referring attorney to ethically receive a percentage of the recovery. The total fee is the same as our law firm’s usual one-third contingent fee in a case. Therefore, the client is not paying anything extra as a result of having the case referred to us.
Here are several of the primary reasons to consider referring us your clients who have suffered a work comp injury:
1. OUR LAWYERS ARE SKILLED AND EXPERIENCED IN HANDLING IOWA WORK COMP CASES. Iowa workers’ compensation law has many twists and turns that make it difficult to only handle an occasional work comp case. Our lawyers have the skill and experience to avoid the danger areas and take all the necessary steps to get the best result for your client.
2. OUR LAW FIRM DOES NOT RECEIVE ANY FEES FROM PAYMENTS THAT YOUR CLIENT HAS ALREADY BEEN PROMISED. Sometimes when your client come in to see you about a workers’ compensation claim they may already have a commitment from the insurance company that they will be paid a certain number of weeks of future permanent partial disability benefits. The fact that the insurance company has agreed to pay your client future money does not mean that your client is not entitled to fight for additional compensation above and beyond what they have already been promised. In referral cases like this our law firm does not take a percentage of attorney fees out of the money your client has already been promised. We only receive fees out of additional money that we are able to obtain for your client above and beyond what the insurance company said they would pay.
3. THE VALUE OF AN IOWA WORK COMP CASE IS NOT ALWAYS OBVIOUS. There are many instances in which a lawyer who does not regularly handle work comp cases might not recognize that a client who has come into see him actually has a very valuable claim. One example would involve an injured worker who is older and close to retirement. In a civil case the damages for loss of future earnings for a worker close to retirement would be relatively low. However, in Iowa work comp cases the legal analysis is different and an injury to an older worker is frequently more valuable than an injury to a younger worker. Another example involves Second Injury Fund claims. In a Second Injury Fund claim a worker with a relatively modest scheduled injury such as a carpal tunnel claim, can “combine” the disability from the carpal tunnel claim with an old injury that did not even have to be work related. Such Second Injury Fund cases can be surprisingly valuable. There are many similar wrinkles in Iowa work comp cases. Therefore, it is prudent to consider referring any work comp case to an experienced practitioner to determine what can be done for the injured worker.
4. OUR LAWYERS HAVE SUBSTANTIAL EXPERIENCE IN IOWA WORK COMP TRIALS AND APPEALS. The nature of Iowa workers’ compensation law leads to a much higher percentage of trials than in civil litigation. After the trials there are also frequently multiple stages of appeal to the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, the District Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Iowa Supreme Court. We take pride in our ability to make high quality presentations at trial and to draft persuasive appeal briefs.
5. WE PREPARE EVERY CASE AS IF IT IS DEFINITELY GOING TO TRIAL. As we mentioned above, there is a high percentage of trials and appeals in Iowa work comp cases. However, we have found that by preparing our cases early and thoroughly we are frequently able to obtain fair settlements for the injured workers that we represent.
6. FINDING AND HIRING THE BEST EXPERT WITNESSES. A critical requirement of every Iowa workers’ compensation case is to have persuasive expert medical opinions on the cause of the injury and the extent of the disability. Additionally, in many cases testimony from a vocational expert can help increase the amount of damages obtained. Our lawyers have substantial experience in working with medical and vocational experts from all over Iowa. We also continually keep track of how the workers’ compensation deputies are evaluating to the opinions of different experts.
Our law firm advances all the litigation expenses of our workers’ compensation referral cases including the cost of expert witnesses.
7. EXPERTISE IN THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SETTLEMENTS. Iowa work comp cases can be settled in many different ways. Each type of settlement has its pros and cons. Every work comp case must be analyzed carefully when considering settlement.
In serious injury cases the worker may end up receiving Social Security Disability and Medicare benefits. In cases in which the injured worker has received, or may later receive Social Security Disability benefits and/or Medicare benefits it is absolutely essential that the settlement be structured correctly. If a settlement is mishandled a worker can end up having the amount of their future Social Security Disability payments unnecessarily reduced. An improper settlement can also result in an injured worker not having future medical problems covered by either the work comp insurance carrier or Medicare.
8. NEGOTIATING LUMP SUM SETTLEMENTS AND TURNING AWARDS INTO LUMP SUM CASH. In some situations our clients prefer or need to receive a large lump sum of cash rather than continue to receive smaller weekly work comp checks. Sometimes insurance companies are willing to agree to lump sum payments. However, if the insurance company is not willing to voluntarily pay out a lump sum, then our lawyers have the skills and experience to litigate and obtain a lump sum payment for our injured clients.
Please contact us if you have a client with an Iowa work injury and are interested in referring the case.