In our Georgia workers’ compensation practice, injured workers often ask, “when is the right time to settle my workers’ compensation claim?” When considering that the fact that in an accepted workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company furnishes remedial medical care to the injured worker, we often recommend that the employee reach “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) prior to settling the case. We believe that your health is the most important factor to consider. However, if you are unhappy with the level of care you are receiving from the workers’ compensation doctors, perhaps it would serve you well to secure a lump sum settlement that enables you to take control of your medical needs.
When considering the resolution of your workers’ compensation claim, you should consult with your authorized treating physician to determine your medical treatment plan. Specifically, you should determine:
- what future medical treatment will be necessary;
- what is the cost of future treatment; and
- whether you will be able to return to gainful employment.
Also, you should consult with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys to determine your rights under the law. We can assist you in evaluating a claim to determine how a global settlement will impact your ability to seek future medical treatment, return to work, and qualify for Medicare or Social Security Disability.
In some instances, it may be a good idea to secure a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME), or a second opinion to assist you with determining your future medical care. The FCE consists of a comprehensive set of performance based tests which are used to determine ability to work, ability to carry out daily living activities, and ability to engage in leisure activities. The IME is an examination from a doctor we choose who will determine whether you can return to work, are fit for full or light duty work, or if there is an impairment rating.
Often, an FCE or IME will assist in projecting the settlement value of the claim. Remember, there is no exact formula to calculating the value of a claim. However, the settlement value of a claim may be maximized by working with an attorney and medical providers who are familiar with the evaluation of workers’ compensation claims.
If you are considering settling your workers’ compensation claim, don’t go at it alone. Call the Ramos Law Firm for a free consultation.