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Phone: 231-725-9542

Over $100,000,000 Recovered for our Clients
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Fax: 231-722-4510

Toll Free: 800-760-4619

Representing Individuals on Major Disability & Injury Cases Throughout Western Michigan since 1982

 

 

Steps of a Workers' Compensation Case

 

The first step in a case is to discuss your rights under workers' comp and also what obligations you may have to the employer. If we determine that they are failing to pay certain benefits we believe your are entitle to, we have a number of options available to us. Sometimes we can just write to the employer and/or insurance carrier in hopes that they will voluntarily pay without a suit being filed. Workers' compensation also has a small claims division where certain small claims can be handled, without a lawyer, that are typically small medical bills or small periods of workers' compensation wages that might be owed. Generally speaking in any significant dispute, the attorney will file what is called a Petition for Hearing.

 

"Both Mr. Bott and Ms. Spencer left me with the feeling that they truly care about their clients and use their professionalism to do their very best to make right what is wrong for their client's best interest. Bott and Spencer and staff make a great team.
I was treated with courtesy and respect and everyone on the staff was great to me, being friendly,
 promptly returning calls, keeping me promptly and properly informed as to what was going on in my case.  They did a great job for me."

 

James Mastenbrook, Muskegon


The attorney will decide whether or not he/she wants to request Mediation or a Pre-trial. Mediation is where there is an informal meeting between the injured worker, the attorney and the attorney for the employer and/or the insurance adjuster. On smaller cases, mediation is a good tool for getting the case resolved early. It sometimes also helps the client understand the insurance company and/or employer's reason for the dispute. It sometimes takes a number of Mediations before the parties can settle a case or it becomes clear that the case has to move on to the trial docket.
If the mediator is unsuccessful in resolving the dispute, he/she will assign it to trial before one of the worker's compensation Judges. If mediation was not chosen on the Petition, the case will then be set for a Pre-trial. The client does not have to appear at a Pre-trial. We will be there to exchange information with the other attorneys, typically medical records, employment records, etc. The attorneys and the Judge will pick a mutually convenient Trial date, although this does not guarantee a trial on the first time up.

"We feel you did a good job representing our case.  We would recommend you to our family and friends.  Thank you for your service."

Richard Hernandez, Muskegon

Workers' Compensation Settlement vs. Trial

Our clients frequently ask whether or not their case will be settled or if they will have to go to trial. We tell our clients that typically 90% or more of our cases actually result in a settlement before trial. The 10% or less of our cases that actually go to trial, typically go to trial because the parties are unable to agree to a settlement figure or there is some other reason why the case may need to be tried. The Judge will make the decision based on the evidence presented to him/her such as depositions of doctors and the statements of witnesses. The Judge does not award a lump sum of money, as a jury might in an auto accident case, but rather he/she will make a determination as to whether or not the insurance company/employer should have paid certain benefits in the past and whether or not the person is currently entitled to received compensation benefits.

Even if you win your case at trial, the insurance company/employer frequently files appeals of those decisions. What that typically means is that you will start receiving 70% of your weekly compensation benefits while it is on appeal. Any past due monies that were awarded for weekly wages or past due medical are held and not paid until after the appeal is over.


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