Navigating workers’ compensation settlements can be thorny. If you are involved in a workers’ compensation case, here are some key things to consider before settling.
This is compensation for work, not for pain and suffering.
If you do not receive the promotion you were aiming for or if your significant other leaves you due to your new physical restrictions, do not expect compensation for the lost opportunity or that loved one’s relationship. You should also know that workers’ compensation settlements seldom provide for retraining or continued education.
You may have to change employers.
Often, the settlement will require you to submit your resignation, and you will have to seek work with another company after the settlement. Worse, you will likely be ineligible for unemployment benefits after the settlement.
Compensation only extends to closure of medical treatment.
Other costs including injury-related medical treatment and cost of medicine that accrue post-settlement will not be covered. The best time for settlement is after the worker has reached maximum medical improvement or is very close to it.
For non-catastrophic cases, there is a time element.
Just because a case is old doesn’t make it high-value. In many cases, the longer it has been since the accident, the less the settlement will be worth. Again, there is no pain and suffering damages in workers’ compensation cases.
Each claim is unique.
Comparing two workers’ compensation cases is like comparing apples and oranges. Many variables figure into the settlement. The higher your weekly compensation rate and your impairment rating, the higher the value of your case. The case’s worth also increases if you have significant permanent work restrictions that your employer is unwilling to accommodate. Additionally, surgical claims have more value than non-surgical cases.
To settle a workers’ compensation case, it is best to have mediations with lawyers present for both parties.