Karns & Kerrison Blog

Workers' Compensation & Third Party Claim for Machine Malfunction Accident

Posted by Robert T. Karns | Mar 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nine months ago, a workers' compensation claimant called our office and spoke with Attorney Jude Kerrison. He explained that he called on a whim because he was on his way to the workers' compensation insurance adjuster's office to settle his scarring claim and wanted to know how much his scar was worth. Jude explained to the gentleman that, without seeing the scar, he couldn't say how much it was worth but that he would be happy to meet with him and look at it. Based on their conversation, the gentleman cancelled the meeting with the insurance adjuster and met with Jude instead.

Jude advised him that he felt the scar was worth more and, following an in-depth meeting about the gentleman's claim, explained all the benefits to which he would be entitled. As it turns out, the gentleman injured both of his shoulders when a machine he was working on malfunctioned, giving rise to both a workers' compensation claim and a third party claim against the manufacturer of the machine. The gentleman was completely unaware of any potential third party claim until Jude explained it to him.

The Role of an Attorney when Dealing with Insurance Companies

Following their meeting, Jude went to the insurer's office with the client to discuss a settlement of the scar. The adjuster made an offer of $4,500.00 in response to Jude's demand of $8,100.00. Jude felt the offer was much too low and they left without resolving the scarring claim. The claimant could not believe they were not going to accept the adjuster's offer because, due to his inexperience with these matters, it was much higher than what he expected. Jude advised the claimant that they would go to Court and have a Workers' Compensation Court Judge evaluate the scar and make an award, which Jude expected to be much higher than what the adjuster offered. The following day, the adjuster called Jude and advised him that she had shown pictures of the scars to other adjusters in her office and would agree to Jude's demand of $8,100.00.

Upon fully investigating the claim, Jude calculated that the insurer was underpaying the claimant by $27.00 per week. Based on the number of weekly checks the claimant had already received, this amounted to an extra $2,400.00 owed to the claimant. Jude secured this amount for the claimant and got his weekly check corrected. Again, the claimant was simply naïve to the method of calculating the workers' compensation rate and had trusted the insurer to get it right.

Following this, the claimant had surgery on his other shoulder and Jude again resolved the scarring claim. Now, nine months after the client first called our office seeking advice on his shoulder scar, Jude has settled his workers' compensation claim for $63,000.00 and his third-party claim is still pending.

Karns & Kerrison: Providing Solutions to Injury Victims Since 1974

When he called, he had no idea what his scar was worth, he had no idea how his check was calculated, he had no idea he could settle his case or what that would be worth, and he had no idea that he could have a tort case against another party. It is safe to say that the claimant considers that call he made on a whim to be one of the best calls he ever made.

For the same level of advice, support, and guidance that Jude provided to this client, give us a call at (888) 281-3100 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with us at Karns & Kerrison. Consultations are free and confidential, so you have nothing to lose by contacting our Rhode Island personal injury attorneys today!

About the Author

Robert T. Karns

Founding Attorney


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