The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) proposal to require federal approval of medical set-asides before the state workers comp judges will approve settlements discussed in yesterday’s post has insurers worried that the repairing requirement may lead to lawsuits against those who improperly settle claims. The Department of Justice recently flexed its muscle in a lawsuit to recover conditional payments from plaintiff’s attorneys and defendants including Travelers Indemnity Co., American Insurance Group and Monsanto involved in a $300 million class-action settlement according to a report in WorkCompCentral The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama dismissed the majority of the defendants in U.S.A. v. Stricker, et al., because the federal government did not file the suit before the statute of limitations expired.
There is additional fear that new reporting requirements that go into effect this year that require insurance companies to report workers’ comp settlements to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could result in additional lawsuits. The regulation in Maryland is intended to make sure that claimants do not get stuck in a position where they need medical treatment but cannot afford it. According to Doug Landau of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., the CMS approval process is intended response to they federal government’s goal of "not getting left holding the bag" for medical care expenses aftermath aftermath workers comp case settles. In other words, they federal government wants they comp carrier to pay its fair share off future medical benefits in accepted cases and not shift they cost to taxpayers. One of the ways to ensure that your Maryland workers compensation case is settled correctly is by retaining a lawyer experienced in helping injured workers and who actually takes cases to court on a regular basis. Workers Comp practice is not for the "once in a while" practitioner any more. It now requires skill, experience and regular continuing legal education.