Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do you have a question about how to proceed with your workers’ compensation claim? Let us help with our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Can I Sue my Employer for Causing My Injury?
Possibly. While employers are typically immune from lawsuits relating to industrial accidents, there are exceptions to this rule. Our firm can advise as to whether you have claims against your employer that can be brought in the district court, separate from a workers’ compensation claim.
How Long Does It Take to Litigate a Case?
In workers’ compensation cases, time is frequently typically measured in months and years. Frequently, a claim cannot be taken to hearing until the claimant is at maximum medical improvement (MMI) which can take years when dealing with severe injuries. Even then, a hearing will only be set after all discovery in the case has been completed. After the hearing occurs, it often takes a year or more before a decision is issued by the Industrial Commission unless the case is heard on an emergency basis. This delay from the date of hearing until the issuance of a decision is primarily due to delays in scheduling the depositions of physicians and vocational experts that typically testify post-hearing via deposition. In the rare case where no post-hearing depositions are taken, a decision will typically be entered within several months of the hearing.
Who Decides What My Case is Worth?
The Idaho Industrial Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over workers’ compensation matters. What this means is that unless your case is settled via a lump sum settlement, a Referee will review the evidence and testimony submitted at hearing and write a formal recommendation to the three Commissioners containing findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Commissioners can accept the Referee’s recommendation or issue their own findings of fact and conclusions of law. If you disagree with the decision of the Industrial Commission, you can appeal your case to the Idaho Supreme Court. Litigating cases to decision or on appeal can be extremely complex and our firm will guide you thru each step of this process.
What is the Statute of Limitations in my Case?
This question is complex as the statute of limitations varies dramatically in workers’ compensation claims. While your injury should always be immediately reported to your employer in order to maintain your claim, the statute of limitations to file a complaint or application for hearing before the Industrial Commission will vary depending on the extent of benefits paid by the surety. In some highly unusual cases, the statute of limitations may even be waived by conduct of the surety, so if you believe you have a claim, you should consult an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims as soon as possible. Our firm has successfully settled indemnity claims more than a decade old due to waiver of the statute of limitations defense by the surety.
How Much Does It Cost?
In Idaho, attorney fees are regulated by the Idaho Industrial Commission. This means that the Commission will review each proposed settlement to make sure attorney fees are no greater than 25% pre-hearing or 30% post-hearing in most cases. The Commission will also verify that attorney fees are only charged on the portion of the settlement that is disputed (i.e. benefits obtained for the claimant after the surety disputes responsibility for payments). Due to the scrutiny applied to attorney fees by the Commission, you have little to lose by consulting with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to determine if representation makes sense in your claim. Our firm’s initial consultation in workers’ compensation cases is always free of charge.