We recently sat down with Brian Weekley, an accomplished Plaintiff Attorney, to discuss his recent settlement of the largest workers’ compensation case in Arizona history. Arizona only recently ruled that future medical could be settled on a full and final basis, which has left attorneys and all parties to determine their own best practices.
Settling full and final means the injured worker agrees to close out the case forever, releasing the insurance carrier from their responsibility to pay for future medical care. The funds the injured worker receives are intended to cover future medical treatment for the rest of their life.
Brian gives us the details of his involvement in this record-breaking case, as well as shares his best practices for full and final settlements in Arizona.
Karissa: Brian, you recently settled a multi-million dollar case that to date is the largest full and final workers’ compensation settlement in the state of Arizona. Can you share a bit of background the case and your involvement?
Brian: This injured party was a young man in his mid-20s. He had been deployed to Afghanistan, was in combat, and had come home to Arizona. He got a job as a mechanic, and one day a tire exploded, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. The way the doctor described his injury was that in the orchestra of the brain, the injury took away the conductor.
His family had received the whole spectrum of opinions from doctors, from he could work, he could volunteer to he couldn’t work at all. I was contacted by this man’s mother after they had litigated for a few years and had been offered a small settlement.
Eventually we were able to settle the case, including settling his future medical full and final, as well as repaying his mother, as she had become his caretaker and had not been paid.
Karissa: As the process of settling full and final is so new in Arizona, can you explain how you’re establishing best practices for these cases?
Brian: For anyone settling in Arizona, it’s a complete blank slate. There’s no more reopening the case, no more rearranging. My advice for anyone settling full and final is proceed with caution and learn as much as you can about MSAs.
Many attorneys see a big dollar amount and want to close the case, but we all need to be paying attention to the risk involved and what we may be giving up. I advise talking to a broker about a structured settlement and a CMS expert that understands the compliance aspect.
Karissa: In your opinion how vital is ensuring compliance with CMS as an attorney?
Brian: 60-70% of people over 62 are Medicare beneficiaries, if our clients are settling without taking CMS’ interests into consideration and if they do not remain compliant, they are jeopardizing this benefit. I think if you don’t understand compliance, and help your client understand compliance, as an attorney you’re essentially committing malpractice.
Karissa: How did you leverage the Ametros team to help you in this settlement?
Brian: I brought in Ametros as a resource to build knowledge on settling full and final. The Medicare set aside is so important, I wanted an expert on the case. Ametros met with my client personally to explain their services, what my client’s responsibility is if they’re settling, and what they’re signing. Ametros is the complete solution that has figure out how to put all the parts of settlement together, and they give me confidence in these cases.
Ametros is critical to settlement of any and all of my firm’s workers’ compensation cases. They provide a 360 degree solution that insures secure and well managed outcomes for our clients. The Ametros team educates and informs both our attorneys and clients so that we are clear in all of our dealings with carriers, employers and Medicare. They are our “insurance policy” in dealing with Medicare and related issues for the life of the claimant. Ametros facilitates timely, thorough and well-designed settlements. Since Ametros emerged in our market, I have personally met with all levels of management and have been thoroughly impressed. I trust them to help us make deals happen and care for our clients…for life.
Do you have someone in mind you think we could help?