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.
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.
Lisa Patterson and her staff volunteered at the Community Meal at OneBistro in Miamisburg on March 7, 2018, serving 101 meals.
Lisa Patterson sponsored the Community Meal, and supports OneBistro’s mission to “provide a place where our neighbors eat and come together as one community.”
Check out the photos of great volunteers working and making the community a better place!
ALERT: If your employee was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent third party on or after July 1, 2017, the BWC has a NEW PROCEDURE that may divert all the payments of benefits and compensation to the Surplus fund and remove the claim from your experience.
Mandatory documentation must be provided to the BWC including:
- Crash Report from law enforcement agency
- Citation showing third party fault
- Proof of third party insurance
- Proof the third party’s insurance company accepts responsibility
Although this process is in its infancy, it has potential for substantial COST SAVINGS in the form of potential LOWER PREMIUMS!
If you have a claim that may meet this criteria, please call us for assistance.
Finally, focusing attention on the epidemic opioid problem in Ohio, the state’s Medical Board is amending existing prescribing rules. These amended rules would do the following:
- Opioid for acute pain not more than a seven day supply.
- Providers may prescribe opioids in excess of supply limits only if the reason is provided in patient’s record.
- Additional scripts are not to exceed an average of 30 (Morphine Equivalent Dose) per day.
While there are some exceptions to these limits, physicians are also required to consider other therapy treatment options before prescribing an opioid analgesic.
Further, extended-release or long-acting opioid analgesics are not to be prescribed for the treatment of acute pain. These new requirements take effect August 31, 2017. These rules apply to all Ohio prescribers regardless of insurance coverage and allow Ohio to take a step in the right direction to control this devastating addiction.
It has yet to be determined how closely the Industrial Commission will follow these rules.