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knowledge you can't find in practice guides
and interviews with experts who share
their techniques for effective and efficient
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Letters to the Editors

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• Warren Schneider
• Marjory Harris


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HARRIS: Steve, I know from working on some
cases with you, that you like to go over a lot of
material yourself, to figure out the real value of a
case. Do you review subpoenaed records as part
of this process?

CHAPMAN:
When I assist an attorney in calculating
the potential settlement value of a case, I believe it is
important to review all the critical medical reports on
the applicant’s current medical condition. Additionally,
I want to review any information pertaining to the
applicant’s future needs.

Sometimes the only way to gain a clear picture of
the medical condition is through the subpoenaed treatment records. I have worked on many cases
where the applicant treated outside the workers’
comp system. Two of the most common examples
are 1) the applicant treats with the spouse’s health
care provider or 2) the applicant utilizes Medicare for
certain treatments. Sometimes an applicant is
forced to seek treatment outside the “system”
because the claim or a particular treatment has
been denied, and there are other times where the
applicant has treated outside the system for no
apparent reason.

Regardless of the reason, when it comes time to
evaluating the case for settlement value, most
carriers will initially look at past expenditures as an
indication of the future medical settlement range.
If significant treatment has occurred outside the
system, then there is a very good chance that the
future treatment costs of those body parts or
conditions will not factor into the cost of future
medical care.

This brings us to one other very important piece of
information that needs to be obtained, often times
through subpoena, and that is the billing of the
treatment that occurs outside of the workers’ comp
system. It is almost impossible to place a value on
a case without this information.




Sometimes the only way to gain a clear picture of the medical condition is through the subpoenaed treatment records.

If significant treatment has occurred outside the system, then there is a very good chance that the future cost of those body parts will not factor into the cost of future medical care.

If there is treatment outside the comp case, obtain the billing records to determine the true cost of treatment.

 


HARRIS: What are you looking for when you read
the records?

CHAPMAN:
I am looking for both industrial and
non-industrial medical conditions that may reduce
the applicant’s life expectancy in the eyes of the life
insurance company that provides the annuities for
the structured settlement.

The “rated age” is a figure that reflects any reduction
in the applicant’s life expectancy, given various
industrial and non-industrial medical conditions.
For example, suppose a 30-year-old construction
worker falls off a roof and is rendered a paraplegic.
He may be given a rated age of 41, which means that
this 30 year old is viewed by the life insurance
company providing structured settlement annuities
as having the life expectancy of a 41 year old. This
means that it costs less to provide lifetime income
to this individual than it would to buy lifetime income
for a healthy 30 year old. The rated age allows the
structure broker to “stretch” the dollars available in
a settlement.

Additionally, I am looking for future medical care
recommendations made by the doctors, in order to
check the accuracy of the Medicare set aside (MSA)
analysis, if a MSA is required. I find that there is
information in the medical records that can help
reduce the MSA, thus making the case easier to
settle.

And of course, I want to make sure that the value assigned to future industrial treatment is fair.

 









Subpoenaed records may provide a “rated age” that allows the structure broker to “stretch” the dollars available in a settlement.

There may be information in the medical records that can help reduce the MSA, thus making the case easier to settle.

 


Steve Chapman
has been a structured
settlement specialist for the past 20 years.
For the past 12 years, he has specialized in workers’ compensation structured settlements.
He has appeared at every Appeals Board
throughout the state of California. During the
past 5 years, he has participated in settlements
totaling over $750 million.

Mr. Chapman strives to remain current on all
issues affecting the settlement of the case,
including Medicare set aside allocations, life
care plans, medical cost trends, Long Term
Disability, and Social Security issues.

To contact Steve Chapman:
Phone: 800-845-2969
Fax: 310-450-3132
Cell: 310-480-5742
Email: SettleMan@aol.com



Structured Settlements:
Why a Structure Specialist Reviews
Subpoenaed Records
Steve Chapman specializes in structured
settlements of workers’ compensation
cases. In this interview with Marjory Harris,
he explains how he uses subpoenaed
records to evaluate the real value of a case.
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