You may be thinking, if I can settle my Workers’ Comp claim, I can receive a lump sum of money up front. But, before you make that important decision, you need to understand what you may be giving up in the process. Weekly benefits and medical payments may be at risk. So, discuss your options with your Workers’ Comp attorney before you choose to settle your claim.
Weekly benefits will likely stop
If you settle your Workers’ Comp case, you will not receive any further weekly benefits for that particular injury. Settlement of your Workers’ Comp case closes that part of your claim. Depending on your state’s Workers’ Comp laws, you may be eligible for compensation for the time you were unable to work as a result of your injuries. This amount is usually a percentage of your wages at the time of your injury. In most states, that percentage is 66 2/3%. You may also be eligible for wages in the amount of your employee benefits.
Medical payments are likely to continue
Whether you will continue to receive medical payment benefits after you settle your Workers’ Comp claim, depends on which state you live in. Some states allow Workers’ Comp insurers to terminate medical benefits when the claim is settled. Yet, even in states that allow medical benefits to continue, insurers are usually unwilling to do so, once the claim has been settled. If this happens, you may be forced to file a separate claim to force the insurer to pay.
Determining what to settle your Workers’ Compensation claim for
Calculating the value of a Workers’ Comp settlement is much different than a personal injury claim, for example. It has nothing to do with pain and suffering, and everything to do with future benefits. Specifically, a Workers’ Comp settlement is based on two factors: the amount of Workers’ Comp benefits to which you may be entitled in the future, and the likelihood that you might actually receive those benefits.
Estimating the amount of future Workers’ Compensation benefits
In determining what your future Workers’ Comp benefits might be, the main factors are the medical evidence submitted in your case and how long you would be allowed to receive those benefits according to your state’s Workers’ Comp laws. For instance, if you have been diagnosed with a temporary total disability, which all of the physicians agree will last for another two years with no permanent impairment, then you would be entitled to two years of temporary total disability benefits. In that case, a reasonable lump sum settlement in your case would be equivalent to two years of temporary total disability benefits.
If you have questions regarding Workers’ Comp settlement, or any other Workers’ Comp issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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