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Litigation more likely with older claimants

Posted On: May. 1, 2024 12:00 AM CST

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Aging worker claims often are more susceptible to litigation, as issues of causation and claim expansion come into question. 

Older worker claims may be slightly more challenging to handle once in litigation because of issues such as Medicare Set-Asides and a potentially higher percentage of disability paid, according to John Geaney, co-chair of the workers compensation practice at Mt. Laurel, New Jersey-based law firm Capehart Scatchard PA. 

Recovery can also be hampered, and litigated claims tend to cost more overall, he said.

“I’m telling the employer right from the beginning … to reserve more money generally because the recoveries aren’t as good,” Mr. Geaney said.

The age of an injured worker can affect the resolution of a litigated claim, said Alan Gurvey, a claimants attorney with Sherman Oaks, California-based Rowen, Gurvey & Win.

The cost “of a claim may not be as high because life expectancy is a lot lower, yet the value of the claim often needs to take into consideration the fact that there are increased needs for an older person and that person may not go back to work because of age,” Mr. Gurvey said.

“It’s a balancing act,” he said. “And those are decisions made by defendants in terms of putting reserves on a case.”