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Is It A Good Idea To Settle A Workers' Compensation Case?

by Jamie Nichols

When you are injured at work, and you are fighting to receive a fair judgment on your behalf – either a settlement or an ongoing benefit package, you will need to decide which way is the better option. You might be pressured by your employer to reach a settlement and put the whole thing behind you, or perhaps you might feel it's the better option. After all, a large settlement might seem like a good idea at the time. Is it really a good idea, however, to settle a worker's compensation case? There are some considerations to take into account first:

No Weekly Benefits

If you opt to settle your case outright, you should know that means you will no longer receive weekly or monthly payments from benefits. In fact, you can never again receive these benefits nor try to claim them in a court case after the settlement has been reached. While it might seem like a lot of money to receive at once, in the long run, those weekly or monthly payments might have added up to a lifetime worth of benefits instead of just one singular lump sum that might run out sooner than you think with medical bills.

Medical Payments

It is possible in some states that your insurance company might continue to pay for your medical bills even if you decide to settle the case. It's also a possibility that you might live in a state where your insurer can cancel medical benefit payments once a settlement is reached and paid out. To avoid this possibility, check with your lawyer first before agreeing to a settlement. It could be the case that even if you live in a state in which your medical payments can be continued, your insurer might not wish to do so. You will have to keep an eye on your medical bills to ensure they are paid on time or at all in some cases. If you find that your bills aren't paid on time or not paid at all, you will need to file a claim with your state's workers' compensation board to force them to pay.

Must Be Approved

You might not know that even if you, your lawyer and your insurer agree to a settlement, your state most likely will require you to submit this proposal to the workers' compensation agency for approval. Once the proposal is received, the agency will hold a hearing, and either a judge or a hearings officer will look over the proposal and speak with you about it. If the judge or hearings officer is satisfied that you are voluntarily agreeing to the settlement and that the terms are in your best interest and not those of the insurer it will be approved. It is possible that the proposal can be refused if the judge doesn't feel you are going to receive enough money.

Contact a workers' compensation attorney for more information and assistance.