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Things Clients Want to Know:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Q.:  Why would I hire you as an hourly workers’ compensation attorney when I can have my third party administrator’s attorney cover my hearing for a one time flat fee? 

A.:  Every employer has multiple choices for representation at hearings. The benefit to having a lawyer attend a hearing are: 1) a lawyer may argue the law and 2) a lawyer may directly question the claimant.

Before I address the concerns, I want to emphasize that there are equally talented lawyers that practice both hourly and for a flat rate.

The issue for hearing is a good indicator of who you should select to represent you. If it is a hotly contested hearing, with factual and medical disputes, you would certainly want an hourly attorney that you have hired to do an extensive investigation of the facts and prepare a defense on your behalf. You have unlimited access to an hourly attorney, while typically you would have little or no contact with a flat rate attorney until the day or the day before the hearing. These same flat rate attorneys will not likely represent you in any post administrative court proceeding.

It is extremely beneficial to have an attorney represent you throughout the administrative level through to court if that case continues. Their assessment and observations of the claimant at hearing, as well as detailed administrative work-up are a great predictor of the likelihood of success in later court proceedings.

Hearing issues such as Permanent Partial Hearings require little to no legal argument and certainly no cross examination would best be served by using a flat rate attorney.

The benefit of paying an hourly lawyer is that you are retaining a lawyer that not only is intimately knowledgeable about your business, but you are retaining that lawyer for the overall cost containment of the claim. An hourly lawyer can make recommendations as to what they foresee is the next step the claimant may take in a claim and predict what the overall exposure on the claim can be.

Flat rate lawyers take multiple hearings in one hour and will only represent you at that hearing. They typically will not make recommendations for future cost containment, or even what further documentation would be needed at future hearings.

The choice of what kind of representation is a business decision, that depends solely on the circumstances for your business and the specific facts of the claim at hand.

 

SUPREME COURT – EMPLOYEE ON PTD NOT ENTITLED TO PPD IN SAME CLAIM

Monday, April 2, 2018

In State ex rel. Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, Inc. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that it was an abuse of the Industrial Commission’s discretion to award a claimant, who was already receiving permanent total disability benefits, compensation for permanent partial disability in the same claim.

Because PTD benefits are paid for “the inability to perform sustained remunerative employment due to the allowed conditions in the claim,” a claimant receiving PTD is not eligible to also receive concurrent permanent partial disability compensation in the same claim. 150 Ohio St.3d 102, 2016-Ohio-8024.

 

Not every workers’ compensation claim requires the help of an attorney. But if you need one, choose experience, reputation, and most importantly, someone who understands how you do business.

LL Patterson LLC is founded on the principle of providing clients with exceptional and results oriented service. The singular mission of LLP is to aggressively and exclusively protect Ohio Employers’ rights in workers’ compensation, OSHA, VSSR, and employment related issues. Whether you’re in the medical or healthcare industry, the construction field, education, the corporate world, or small business, the goal remains the same: to reach final closure of your workers’ compensation claim in as little time as possible while minimizing cost.

Lisa L. Patterson understands the complex intricacies of the Ohio workers’ comp system and has sixteen years experience working with this very specific and sensitive form of law. A seasoned Ohio employers’ advocate, she will work to ensure that all parties’ claims are fairly and efficiently executed to protect your interests and assets.