Would any work comp attorney take on a case from 2019 when my attorney has exhausted all his tricks?
4 attorney answers
WCAB judges may look at two reports: The TREATING physician's and the QME. You (or your lawyer) muffed it up by not getting an MPN Treating PHysician report that said what you needed it to say. So it's too late now. You write the 'gave up' on you; THAT was the time to either strategize with the lawyer or get a new lawyer. (And then you needed 100% more coaching and preparation BEFORE giving your history to the QME.,.i coach my people about 2 hours.) If you got a QME report and there was no MPN Treating PHysician report to challenge that QME's findings, the WCAB Judge had no choice but to issue the finding based on the medical evidence at hand.
Your case could be set for trial or trial on throwing out QME. Can you get a new attorney to do this for you, depends on what can be done. It is hard to clean up a problemed case. You can stipulate and keep treating.. Your lawyer will be paid out of this . Maybe the QME will retire and you can get another one.
So, let me get this straight--every professional involved in your case, including your own lawyer, your doctors, and the opposing lawyers and the judge, are either "sociopaths" or "corrupt" or dishonest. But you are none of those things. Have I understood your position correctly?
You are not thinking rationally. Follow Mr. Gorman's advice above. Your current attorney is by far the best person to assess the value of your case and get you the best deal. Trying to get a new attorney at this point, if anyone will even take you on as a client, is not likely to get you a better outcome.
This answer is intended as general information and not as specific legal advice.
I am going to be very up front with you, so please do not take it personal. Beating around the bush is not gong to help you.
First, no judge at the LA WCAB is corrupt. They are all pretty friendly to injured workers. In fact, the California labor code itself mandates that everything is construed in your favor. This is not a cabal of people on the take, it is administrative law. I have been in this industry for many years, and I have appeared in front of judges in almost every venue. Nobody is "on the take".
I completely understand your frustration with lack of communication. This is a problem across many, if not most, law firms in every area of law. You will be hard pressed to find a lawyer who is responsive, if they are good. It is extremely rare, but I do agree that any client should feel that they were communicated with. While there is no excuse for lack of communication, that is also just the way things are in the legal profession.
With regards to the PQME- there are many bad ones out there, but ultimately if you have expectations that a concussion is going to result in a total permanent disability case then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If you have not seen a psychologist, and just saw a neurologist, then you may get another QME specialty, but I presume your attorney went down this path already.
The lawyers at AIG are not very good, your attorney is probably better. It is a common misconception that insurance companies have the best lawyers. Insurance companies pay a low hourly rate, AIG uses in house counsel a lot. These are typically not top notch legal minds or great litigators. I worked, and was a manager, for a large defenses firm in CA. Good attorneys are not common. More so with large insurance companies that want to pay lower than the already shamefully low hourly rates that their competitors pay. Opposing counsel are not "sociopaths" they are advocates for their clients. Opposing counsel is not there to be "fair" to you, quite the opposite.
So this leaves the hard part: your demeanor and comments, along with your description of the injury (a concussion) and comments about your lawyer, will scare away any attorney worth hiring. You seem like a very difficult client with very unreasonable expectations. Any firm that will sub you in (there are a couple down there in LA and Orange County) will probably only make your case worse. The reason why? I believe your attorney is putting off the QME deposition because your case could get worse for you, he knows it and AIG knows it, if questions are presented to the PQME.
None of us have any way to determine whether or not the settlement you are being offered is adequate. We have not worked on your case for two years. Additionally, your current attorney has, and he will still recover from any settlement- likely a much higher amount than anyone who subs in.
So the straight forward answer is- you are asking an attorney to sub in, for a very very small payment of attorneys fees, while calling judges we all know to be pro injured worker corrupt and also seeming to be very difficult and someone who expects a lot of money out of an injury that does not get you there (FYI Very few workers compensation cases are, without extraordinary health care needs like 24/7 home care, are worth anywhere near $1 million).
Workers compensation is here to provide your with temporary disability, medical treatment, and permanent disability commensurate with a permanent disability rating. It is not "just", you will never get "justice", that is not the intent of workers compensation. The news articles you have read about (what the news portrays as) a windfall for a plaintiff are not accurate, and they never are about injured workers.
I do wish you the best of luck, consider talking this through with your attorney again. Be VERY cautious about anyone who is willing to sub in without talking to your current attorney first. Your case can get worse for you.