IWIF (Injured Workers' Insurance Fund):Claims and Settlements
IWIF is a self-funded insurance company that has 23% of the workers’ compensation insurance market share in Maryland, more than any other insurer. It insures 21,000 businesses (including the State of Maryland), provides the majority of workers’ compensation insurance, and settled 1,470 claims in 2010. IWIF has 15 attorneys and 10 support staff.Dealing with IWIF Immediately after a Work Accident
The best procedure for dealing with IWIF immediately after an accident depends on the nature of the case. If the case is uncontested, the main point of contact will be with IWIF’s support staff. If the case is contested (that is, they disagree about whether an injury happened, or whether it was related to an on-the-job accident or occupational disease), initial contact should be with the support staff assigned to a particular case, but it is often useful to speak to a unit attorney (attorney providing general guidance on claims before a hearing has been set) or the attorney assigned to handle an upcoming hearing.
Medical equipment costing over $250.00 requires pre-authorization. Equipment and bills are usually paid within two weeks of request.Dealing with IWIF after Filing a Claim
IWIF’s strategy differs depending on its client. For example, lately they have not been settling cases with Maryland state injured workers, basically suggesting that their client has not given them authority to do so. They even go so far as to try to avoid court-ordered mediation in appealed cases. In general, however, their adjusters are well-trained and usually responsive.Settlement
IWIF attorneys have no independent authority to settle or stipulate claims, and most negotiations go directly through the adjuster, instead. They can be a little sneaky, sometimes. There is anecdotal evidence that in some cases, they have attempted to settle claims after their hired doctor performs a medical exam. Lawyers should be wary of settling the claim without seeing that doctors report–in some cases, IWIF may be trying to settle the claim for less than full value, even when their own doctors tell them the nature and extent of the injured worker’s injuries.Workers’ Compensation Hearings with IWIF
Because IWIF has the largest market share of any workers’ compensation insurer in Maryland, their lawyers are frequently at just about every morning’s docket call. Several years ago they had their own separate docket, but now they must travel between hearing locations and hearing rooms just like everyone else. Because they are so busy, it is best to allow for extra lead time before hearings to attempt to resolve issues without the need for hearings.More Information About IWIF