Jamie Duncan, former linebacker for the St. Louis Rams, has filed a lawsuit in City Court against his former attorney, Mark L. Floyd of the Floyd Law Firm. The lawsuit is connected to a Missouri workers' compensation claim filed on Duncan's behalf: 5 years ago, Duncan alleges, Floyd advised him to sign a $1,000 settlement that included a waiver for any future medical benefits. Duncan's complaint argues that doing so ultimately cost him $255,000, reports the Courthouse News Service.
In 2007, when Duncan's initial claim was made, the Rams had offices in both St. Louis and Los Angeles, and Duncan's settlement was filed in the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation. In the years that followed, Duncan sought to collect benefits on new claims for cumulative orthopedic and closed head trauma. In that pursuit, he was represented by California attorney Ron Mix.
By March of 2011, the complaint says, "Mix had negotiated a tentative settlement wherein the St. Louis Rams would settle all pending workers' compensation claims of Jamie Duncan, plus a buy-out of future medical benefits for the sum of Three Hundred Thousand Dollars ($300,000)."
Then, in May 2011, the Rams contacted Mix to inform him that Duncan had waived all future medical claims by agreeing to the Missouri settlement in 2007. Thus, the Rams "declined to offer any compensation to the plaintiff," the complaint continues. Mix was eventually able to settle Duncan's California claims for $45,000: since the Rams organization initially offered $300,000, Duncan is suing to recover the difference.
The complaint maintains that Floyd was negligent in advising Duncan to sign off on the 2007 Missouri settlement. Duncan alleges several negligent acts, including the following:
• Floyd "[failed] to explore monetary benefits available in Missouri as opposed to California law";
• Floyd "[failed] to assess all of Duncan's potential claims";
• Floyd "[advised] Duncan to waive his future rights without obtaining a medical evaluation to determine the value of future claims"; and
• Floyd "[failed] to file dual claims in Missouri and California."
Indeed, navigating through the Missouri workers' compensation system can be extremely overwhelming - and that's putting it mildly. Given multiple changes to the law over the years, it's common for various factors to affect a workers' compensation claim (as well as that claim's ultimate resolution). As the Missouri Department of Labor points out, "workers' compensation is a complicated...area of law. You will want to find a lawyer who regularly practices workers' compensation law and understands the law thoroughly."
When you're seriously injured on the job, you will have numerous decisions to make. It's important to remember that those decisions can directly impact your quality of life - and your family's - for years to come. Hiring an experienced, knowledgeable workers' comp lawyer can help you ensure that your rights and interests are protected, both in the present and long term.
At Aaron Sachs & Associates, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case, and we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we don't collect any fees up front. We represent injured workers in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Kansas City, and throughout the surrounding areas. To schedule an appointment in one of our 5 Missouri offices, call us toll-free at 1-888-777-AUTO, or visit our website.