The uninsured employer faces difficult choices. The first and most obvious thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and ignore the process. If you do this eventually the applicant’s attorney will join the uninsured employer’s fund. Once joined the uninsured employer’s fund will defend the case if it is defend-able or simply pay pursuant to the judge’s rulings. The uninsured employer’s fund will do what they can to reduce liability but, like all insurance companies, they will pay whatever charges the judge allows.
Option No. 2 is to hire an aggressive workers’ comp defense attorney and attempt to resolve the case early. Many people come to me and say they wish to defend the case on the basis that it is a bogus claim or even fraud. While this is one possible avenue, my general recommendation is to attempt to answer the case, get in, and settle.
The reason I advise this is that the system is set up for insurance companies with unlimited resources. To properly defend a workers’ compensation case an attorney may take a deposition which could cost thousands of dollars. Once the deposition is taken they would add a list of all medical treatment that the applicant has procured over his lifetime. They would then subpoena records from all medical providers and carefully review them. They may hire an outside investigator and spend thousands of dollars on investigation and sub rosa reports. All of this is fine for billion dollar insurance companies, but doesn’t work for uninsured employers. The cost of aggressively defending a workers’ compensation case can run into thousands of dollars and in some cases approaches $100,000.00.
I believe that the best route for an uninsured employer is to have an attorney file an answer and basically do nothing other than set the matter for an immediate hearing. If possible I settle cases prior to the haring by making a telephone call or writing a letter. In most cases workers’ compensation applicant’s attorneys do not respond to letters or phone calls. It is therefore necessary to file for a hearing to get the attention of the applicant’s attorney.
Once we are done at the Board, we would attempt to settle the case as cheaply as we can before the applicant can run up thousands of dollars in bills for what may be treatment.
I believe this aggressive style of handling workers’ compensation cases, while keeping the litigation costs down, is the most effective route for uninsured employers.
If you have questions regarding the process or anything that is said here, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation. The Law Office of Bill Ancedo wants to help you resolve your case as soon as possible so you can move on with your life.