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How Long Will My Workers' Compensation Case Take?

Hi everyone! Dustin here from lawatyourside.com where we provide real legal help when you really need it.

A question I commonly get is how long is my workers' compensation case going to take? How long is my case going to take? And it's a very common question that a lot of injured workers want to know.

Unfortunately, there's never really a straight answer that I can give because really it depends upon the facts of the case. The first thing it will depend on is what is the injury? Are you suffering from a more major injury where there's like a broken foot or something fractured, a fractured arm maybe where you're going to require surgery? Or is it more of a soft tissue case where you're back is hurting but there's no real objective evidence of a significant injury – there is no pinching on the nerves or the MRIs don't show anything too significant but you still feel pain there.

So the question is how long is the treatment going to take? That’s the first thing that you want to know. If it's something more serious like something is broken, typically, you might do some physical therapy; you might do some diagnostic testing after initial physical therapy doesn't help like an MRI or an EMG. And then the doctor may look at and say, "Hey you know what? You probably should undergo a surgery." At that point, you may undergo surgery.

After that, there may be follow-up physical therapy and treatment and all that, so it can take many months to do that. Ideally, if it's going clean and the doctors know what the issue is and you get the surgery right away and then physical therapy afterwards, obviously it depends on what kind of surgery you are getting; if it’s a broken arm or it’s a lot different then maybe a neck surgery or back surgery. But if I have to give somewhat of an estimate, it could be at least six months of just treatment in terms of if you need a surgery. And that's assuming everything goes well.

So it's really hard to say how long your case is going to take in that regard because the second thing to consider is who is doing the procedure and is the insurance authorizing the procedure or not. So a lot of times in workers' compensation, if you're treating with the insurance companies' doctors, what they have to do is request authorization from the insurance company.

So if they're recommending surgery, they requested from the insurance company and the insurance company has to say "Yes, go ahead and proceed with surgery on this patient," and sometimes that can be a whole issue in it of itself. That can delay things three, six, nine months a year more, depending on what the insurance carrier decides to do whether the surgery is approved or is not approved. So those are two things to consider in terms of how long the case is going to take.

Third one is what kinds of specialties are required. Is it just orthopedic? Is it just physical injury? Or are you having also psychological injury, where you need to see a psychologist? Is there internal injury where you're taking a lot of medications or other stuff going on internally that was also caused by your work? So the more specialties, oftentimes, the longer the case is going to take as well.
So typically, what happens is after you're done with the treatment phase, you'll see either a neutral doctor called an AME, Agreed Medical Examiner, or maybe a state doctor called QME, Qualified Medical Examiner. They may need to see you. They may recommend further testing or they may say that, "You know what? You've been injured but you healed up as good as you're going to get. I don't think treatment is going to help you much anymore.” Anything that helps maybe held up in future medical care.

So there are a lot of different things that go into factoring how long you're case is going to take. Generally, what we see is at a minimum, usually cases take at a minimum of about nine to twelve months. Obviously, you can settle it sooner and the case can resolve sooner than that, but if you're getting treatment and it goes to the normal process, it is about nine to twelve months but they can take longer than that after two years, maybe even three years in general.

So average, it's really hard to say but maybe a year and a half-ish to maybe two years, two and a half years is about the average, but again, there's a lot that goes into it. It depends on your injuries, it depends on the specialties, it depends if the insurance carrier is approving treatment or is not approving treatment. So there is a lot that goes into it, but that's a general timeline and general idea, so you have an idea of how long your case may take. Thanks so much for watching this video.

If you want further assistance with your work-related injury or you want to talk to a lawyer and get your questions answered or you want us to represent you in your workers' compensation case, please feel free to give us a call at the number below or click the link below and fill out the submission form, and we will do our best and work our hardest to ensure that we give you all the benefits that you are entitled to under the law. And we hope you have a smooth, efficient case that runs through so you can get back to your healthiest that you can be and also receive all the benefits that you're entitled to. Thanks so much.