If you sustained an injury at work and are now in the process of pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, you might be considering the prospect of accepting a settlement offer to resolve your case. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, the answer to this will vary, though there are some factors every individual should consider in order to reach a conclusion that is appropriate.
Below are some factors you should mull over before you decide to settle your workers’ compensation claim:
- Does it make sense for you to settle? Insurers frequently try to pressure workers to settle their claims via a lump sum, even if it is not in the best interest of the employee. Why? It eliminates the element of uncertainty for them. It can be difficult to determine how long and how much you will need an insurance company to continue to pay you throughout the process of your recovery. However, if you accept a lump sum settlement, the insurance company will no longer have to be concerned with this, even if you end up running out of settlement money before your recovery is complete. This means you could end up having to bear the burden of paying for any additional costs not covered by your lump sum settlement. Remember, once you agree to settle your claim, you cannot reopen it, so make sure you have a realistic idea of your condition and how long it will take for you to recover and return to work.
- Calculate the value of your claim. Knowing whether or not you should settle your claim can be near impossible if you do not know the value of your claim. How else can you know if the offer you are getting is fair? Consult with your workers’ compensation attorney to figure out the value of your claim. He or she will also be able to advise you on what a reasonable settlement amount would be for your case.
- How long will your workers’ compensation benefits continue? Injured employees are only entitled to workers’ compensation benefits while they are unable to work. To be certain that you are truly disabled, it is not uncommon for insurers to hire private investigators to keep an eye on individuals who are receiving benefits. Additionally, you will be required to regularly see their physician and, if they believe you are ready to return to work, your benefits will be discontinued. If you feel like you are just about ready to return to work, then it might actually make sense for you to agree to a settlement offer.
- Your condition might get worse. In some cases, recovery is not possible. If your condition continues to get worse or you become permanently disabled, settling your claim while you are receiving temporary benefits is likely a bad idea. The insurance company, on the other hand, would love it if you accepted a settlement under these circumstances.
- What does settling mean? Understanding what happens after you settle is crucial for your decision-making process. The weekly checks you receive will come to an end and, in their place, you will receive a single lump sum amount. This means you will forever be prohibited from receiving a weekly check for this specific injury and the incident that caused it. However, if the insurance company has been covering your medical treatment, a settlement will not impact this.
- What is reasonable? Once you and your attorney calculate the value of your claim, you should understand you might have to compromise if you want to settle your case. This does not mean you should accept an unreasonable amount, however. If the insurer offers you $75,000 and your claim is worth $175,000, this should not be considered a reasonable offer. Sure $75,000 might sound like a lot of money, but remember that you will need to live off this and, given that it is not even half the value of your claim, you will likely run into serious financial hardships if you accept it.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Marietta and Cobb County
If you sustained an injury at work and are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, you will need an attorney who is experienced and skilled in handling such matters. At Chester & Beller, our team of Marietta and Cobb County workers’ compensation attorneys is ready to discuss the specifics of your case and craft an individualized strategy to ensure your rights are honored.
For the representation you deserve, contact our firm today at (770) 285-5542 to schedule your free consultation.