TWO FIRMS ARE NOT BETTER THAN ONE (PART 2)
The reasons that you want one firm to represent you in both actions is because it is the obligation of the one firm, who is handling both your workers’ compensation claim as well as your third party litigation, to make sure that you receive the maximum amount of benefits, both monetary and otherwise–taking into account the impact one action has on the other.
Often times if you have separate firms, even though they should communicate with each other to obtain the best result for you, on both accounts, they will often not do so effectively, as they are concerned with only the case they are handling.
By way of example, let’s assume you are in need of surgery and your attorney handling your workers’ compensation matter is pursuing such on your behalf but, unknown to him, your attorney in a different office has just settled your third party litigation without advising you of the potential ramifications of doing so. As a result of the settlement, let’s further assume that you have received (after payment of costs and attorney fees) the sum of $100,000. The workers’ compensation carrier then files and successfully obtains a “credit” of 100,000 against any further benefits payable on your behalf. As a result, your workers’ compensation attorney tells you that you must find another way to get your surgery paid for, as the workers’ compensation defendant has a valid credit that must be met first.
If a single firm handles both matters, there are often ways to negotiate the matters in such a way as to reduce the reimbursement claim in the third party case, to reduce or eliminate the credit the workers’ compensation case or, at a minimum, make sure you are properly advised so you are not caught off guard and without recourse.