Thursday, July 16, 2015
WORKERS COMPENSATION -- Late TTD Payments and the Insurer's Bad Faith
In theory, this system should work to the benefit of both Parties. The injured worker and the employer remain on equal footing, so long as they each give up an equal amount of 'legal leverage' to the other. Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against the injured Montana worker. Indeed, while the employee, in most instances, undertakes the process of the workers compensation claim on his/her own, the employer is armed with an experienced and (at best) thrifty insurance company who employs dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of insurance claims adjusters who are trained to pay out the minimum amount of benefits necessary to resolve any given claim. A Montana workers compensation adjuster employs a handful of 'panel defense counsel' who assist the adjuster in contesting various aspects of the claim. Most often, relatedness of the injury to the employee's employment.
Matt Tourtlotte and the Tourtlotte Law Firm specialize in analyzing workers compensation claim, explaining the issues, and in upholding the rights of injured Montana workers and in helping them deal with difficult insurance companies.
For those making less than $1,063.00 per week the bi-weekly TTD benefits are designed to amount to essentially the injured worker's bi-weekly pay amount less 33.3%. The State attributes the 33.3 % reduction to taxes which would otherwise be withheld from the injured worker's gross wages. However, it is a far different and graver matter for the injured worker who was making more than $1,063.00 per week at the time of injury. Indeed, by way of example, imagine an oil-field worker making $1,800.00 per week. Because of the cap on TTD benefits, this claimant and others like him/her will be forced into a situation where they are required to live off of less than 50% of their time of injury weekly pay. Even if the payments are made on time, it becomes near impossible for this claimant to pay the mortgage, the utilities, the auto loan, and to put food on the table for the family.
Now imagine that the insurer makes each of the required bi-weekly payments late, sometimes delaying the payment by more than a week. The result is often disastrous, sending the claimant into extreme financial and emotional duress. From medical bills being sent to collection to foreclosure notices from the bank, the insurer's refusal to pay benefits and/or to pay workers compensation benefits in a timely and consistent manner is a violation of the core principles of quid pro quo underpinning the foundation of the Montana Workers Compensation Act. If this is happening to you, or a loved one, the insurer is committing insurance bad faith and is in violation of the Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act. In order to protect your rights you should contact a workers compensation attorney who is experienced in the practices employed by insurers immediately.
your rights are being trampled upon, be sure to call an experienced attorney today.