Things to Know Before Settling Your Workers' Comp Claim
A workers’ compensation case can be long, difficult, and contain a lot of uncertainty for all parties involved. For insurance companies in particular, the longer a workers’ compensation claim goes, the more expensive it will also be. If your injury is serious, don’t be surprised if your insurance company offers a settlement for your case. A settlement is a single lump-sum payment paid to you that will put an end to your case. While a large sum of money may perk your ears up, there are a lot of things you should carefully consider before accepting this deal.
Does Settling Make Sense?
In serious injury cases, insurance companies strongly prefer to settle because it will likely save them a bundle of money. In fact, if you take the first offer they throw at you, odds are they’re going to be jumping for joy over how much money they have saved. When you are injured on the job, neither you nor the insurance company know how long you will be injured for, how long they’ll have to pay benefits for, and how much that will cost them. All of these things don’t matter if they can simply pay you a set amount and call it finished.
In order for a settlement to make sense for you, you have to consider your condition and your situation. Will you recover? Will you be able to return to work in the future? Have you been struggling under the workers’ compensation system so far? If your case being disputed, sometimes settling is a good idea. However, the first offer is rarely a good one.
How Much Is Your Claim Worth?
Workers’ compensation cases have a set dollar amount based on your injury and how long you are injured, so calculating how much you might receive from the system in advance could be beneficial towards helping you determine if an offer is good. However, this is only the value associated with your claim while it is open. What happens after the case ends and your condition still lingers? What happens if you are totally disabled? How much can you expect to receive then? Will you continue to need treatments for the rest of your life? Each of these factors has value, and you should carefully consider this before agreeing to a settlement. You’ll probably find that the settlement which seemed so large before is actually paltry compared to how much you may need to care for your family and your condition in the future.
Will Your Benefits Continue?
You are only entitled to medical benefits as long as your claim is continuing and you are unable to work. Once you are declared disabled and your condition won’t improve, your benefits may come to an end. How much is your treatment going to cost once your insurance company stops footing the bill? How much will medications cost? What happens if you get re-injured or your condition gets worse? Will you be able to go back to work and maintain your employer-sponsored insurance? You’ll need to take a long and realistic look at your condition and assess how it will impact you for the rest of your life, including the financial costs of medical coverage.
Is the Settlement Amount Reasonable?
What is a reasonable settlement amount? On your end, it’s one that allows you to live comfortably and stress-free, knowing that your expenses will be covered for your condition going forward. On the insurance company’s end, a reasonable settlement will cover these amounts, but also not extend too far beyond what can be expected over your life. On the other hand, a reasonable settlement amount is not far below what you should expect to receive. Your settlement should also include attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses you may have incurred as result of your claim. Otherwise you’ll be stuck footing a large bill you wouldn’t have otherwise needed to deal with.
Consult with an Attorney
Having a lawyer on your side can protect your goals and rights throughout this process. A skilled Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can help you to know and understand the expenses that you will have to deal with over the course of your life in order to determine if a settlement is in your best interests. They can also help you negotiate a more fair settlement if you wish to pursue this option but your insurance company offers you an amount that’s far too low.If you need an attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation claim, call The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC today at (770) 629-9321 to set up a free initial consultation!