When you have a workers’ compensation case, one of the biggest concerns is how long it will take. That’s completely understandable. If you’ve been injured at work, it might mean a drastic loss of income and extra expenses due to the injury. This causes a major financial hardship.
It’s an uncomfortable situation to have the case hanging over your head, not knowing what the final outcome will be. You can’t plan the rest of your life. You can’t move forward. As a firm that specializes in California’s workers’ compensation cases, we understand how difficult this time can be. We want to dive in and explain what goes on in a case like this, because the more information you have, the more confident you can be moving forward.
There is no direct answer for a timeline. If someone gives you a set timeline on this, they’re probably not reliable. The truth is that an injured worker’s case can settle at any time. So you can’t count on an immediate settlement. What I can tell you is that if we can, we get the defendant to make a reasonable offer so that we can settle early. If they won’t make a reasonable offer, though, we need to follow the process to get you the best possible settlement.
If the defendant won’t make a reasonable offer, we have to wait until we have all of the final medical reports. This process can vary, depending on the injury. There is a treatment phase in workers’ compensation. After that, there’s a point where the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement. It’s at this point that the doctor issues his final report.
The final report addresses the injured worker’s maximum medical improvement and discusses whether a permanent disability is in causation. That final report is needed in order for us to settle your case. Once we have that report, we can issue a demand, providing there are no disputes.
If the carrier or the injured worker disputes that report, we need to have another neutral doctor assess the case. The neutral doctor is called a state panel qualified medical examiner or the green medical examiner. In the case that either party disputes, we need to wait for the final report from the neutral doctor, as well. Once we have all of the final reports, there is a discovery phase. This phase is where we take depositions and interrogatories. At this point, the matter will settle or go to trial.
Having the right attorney makes all the difference in these cases. Your attorney should be proactive in setting up the final reports, projecting the next steps of the case, expediting reports and discovery, and moving your case to settlement or trial.
If you are an injured worker with questions about your workers’ compensation claim, we are here to answer all of your questions. Schedule a free consultation directly online or give us a call at (888) 287-4471.