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It's time to get a lawyer for your workers' compensation claim

How do you know if you need a lawyer to help with your workers' compensation claim?

There are plenty of claims that go through the system just the way that they should. After all, the whole point of the system was to keep the claims from clogging up the courts, bogging down employers and holding up injured workers.

Falling scaffolding injures 3 in Brooklyn

It isn't just construction workers who are at risk of injuries from faulty or decaying scaffolding.

In a recent incident, three people suffered injuries when a scaffolding in Brooklyn collapsed while in use. Two of the injured were just unlucky pedestrians caught on the ground near the 20-foot piece of scaffolding when it went plummeting to the ground.

How do you help a co-worker with a possible spinal injury?

What do you do when you're working a construction job and one of your co-workers takes a fall off a ladder, scaffold or roof? Do you rush forward and try to administer first aid? Would that potentially make things worse?

Here's what you should do:

BEHIND THE SCENES OF A MARATHON MEDIATION

I have mediated many cases over the last 25 years of representing people seriously injured in accidents, but the case that I mediated on Friday seriously tested my negotiating skills.I was up against not only a large Manhattan defense firm, but the defendants' national counsel from Chicago who seemed to be pulling the strings.When mediating serious cases you first need to know your case cold and out prepare the other side. You have to know every fact and how it helps or hurts your case, and if it hurts, show how it doesn't hurt that much. You need to have your expert reports and trial exhibits all lined up to show that you are ready to take a verdict if necessary. You must determine the settlement range that provides your client with the best combination of compensation and risk. You have to remember that this is not about you, it's about your client. They are depending on you to outsmart and out lawyer the other side...they need you to get in the zone.Anyone can settle a case at a mediation, and anyone can get fed up and walk out. You need to be strong, show emotion, but remain in control, make yourself liked and respected, be able to say "no" when others may say "yes", and keep saying "no" when needed.The other side will test you....again and again. Their job is to pay the least they can. My job is to make them pay more than they want to. They are counting on you to blink first, you owe it to your client to keep your eyes open.You have to keep your client fully involved, it is their case, their injury, their life, their decision. They are counting on you to help them make the right decision that is often life changing.On Friday they tested, poked, prodded, played mind games, you name it.In a case where I knew my clients deserved a seven figure settlement, they made an opening offer of $50k. Then after a long period $75k, $100k, $125, etc. My clients were confused and didn't understand. The mediator kept saying "be patient".After 4 hours I told the mediator that I was going to leave with my clients since it was clear that national counsel had no interest in settling the case. The next offer was $250k.Another 2 hours and they were at $350k, and I packed up my briefcase. They then came up to$550k, then $600k.An hour later, $700k, then $725k, I picked up my coat. An offer of $750k was then made at the 8 hour mark and I was told that was all the money they had to settle the case.I was encouraged to get my clients to accept it, national counsel told me they couldn't understand why my clients wouldn't accept since they were not that well off. That actually made me mad...they were actually telling me that my clients should take their offer because they were poor...that would end up costing them.I picked up my coat again and thanked the mediator for his efforts. He told me to wait and said "What if I could get your clients a million dollars?" I told him "no". He went to speak to defense counsel, came back and said "I got your clients the million, you should get them to take it."I spoke to my clients and told them that I thought that I could get more and we agreed to say "no".The mediator was surprised. He asked me what number would settle the case right then and there , I told him $1.4 million. He went to speak to defense counsel and came back and told me "$1.2 million last offer and they are not happy"."After going over the offer with my clients, we decided to settle. We were in the settlement range where the risk was no longer worth trying the case for them.As I was walking out after the 9 hour marathon mediation, I was told that they paid my clients $500k more than they ever thought that they would.As I drove home from the city that night I thought about everything that went into getting my clients the results that they truly deserved and I smiled. The hugs from my clients let me know how much they appreciated my efforts.I will take all that I learned into my next mediation to help my next client.Now you know a little more about what happens at mediation

For safety's sake, put your seat belt on!

Are seat belts really as important to safety as the government would have you believe?

Absolutely! While there still are some voices of dissent out there who point to potential dangers -- including a false sense of security that leads to recklessness on the road and injuries to the abdomen -- the evidence that seat belts save lives is overwhelming.

Who pays when subcontractors get hurt on private property?

Who ends up paying when you're working as an independent subcontractor on someone's house and end up injured?

Ideally, you have insurance of your own. Unless you have an agreement otherwise, the contractor's insurance company certainly won't cover you. If you don't have coverage of your own, however, you're only real option is likely to file a claim against the homeowner's insurance company in order to try to get back your lost income and medical costs.

Doctor prevented from treating injured workers

The Workers' Compensation Board of New York has removed one of the doctors on its list of those approved to examine injured workers under the system.

The doctor admitted to a variety of issues with his quality of care, including failing to retain accurate medical records that showed what evaluation patients had received from him, failing to order appropriate tests and consultations and failing to give patients' medical history or symptoms an adequate evaluation. He also admitted to not monitoring such diverse patient-care issues as thyroid function or sodium levels. In addition, he never documented whether patients were being seen for psychiatric care.

What's the 'storm in progress' doctrine?

If the weather outside is less than delightful, you know to be careful when you step out of your car in a parking lot. But what happens if the parking lot is still a disaster and you end up slipping, falling and injuring yourself anyhow?

Whether or not you can hold the property owner liable may depend on the "storm in progress" doctrine and what you can prove about the conditions of the lot.

“You were such an incredible help to me and I’ll never forget the work you did. I can’t thank you enough and I’m beyond happy I found you.”

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