Receiving workers’ compensation can be established through a settlement offer or by a court order. When a claim is filed the workers’ compensation provider will typically offer the individual a settlement amount. As the injured party, you do not have to legally accept any settlement offered by the provider.
You can negotiate settlement amounts with the provider in an effort to find a mutually agreeable amount. In cases where you are unable to come to a mutual agreement, the workers’ compensation lawsuit is left up to a judge to decide how much and if the injured party should receive compensation.
How Much Money Are You Entitled To?
Before even considering a settlement amount offered by a workers’ compensation provider, there are some essential facts you need to know about your compensation benefits. We’ve included the benefits you get under workers’ compensation below so you can better understand your rights.
Partial Permanent Disability
In cases where an employee is injured on the job where they aren’t fully disabled, but they do receive some permanent impairment they fall under this benefit. The partial permanent disability right provides those injured with compensation for their permanent disability.
It’s very likely that an employer will offer the injured party a settlement for the claim. In most cases, this settlement amount will come along with certain requirements that dictate the injured party to give up their future right to legal action against the company in certain events.
For example, the injured party may have to agree to give up their right to take future legal action related to workers’ compensation in the event they feel a future injury is a result of this permanent disability. Or, the injured party may have to surrender their right to future medical claims regarding their permanent disability after a settlement is accepted.
Temporary disability, also referred to as time loss compensation, is a reward an injured employee may receive in the event they were unable to work for a period of time due to their injury. In most cases, this can be a partial percentage of your pay rate or a total compensation of your pay rate.
In the event that you did not receive temporary disability compensation while you were unable to work due to a workplace injury, the workers’ compensation provider may offer you a settlement for that time. This settlement typically comes along with the surrendering of your rights to sue them in the future for any further compensation regarding that injury period.
Under workers’ compensation benefits, you have the right to seek payment for ongoing medical expenses due to a workplace illness or injury. In the event that you received a minor injury or illness at work, the workers’ compensation provider may offer you a lump sum settlement amount to pay for the medical expenses that incurred due to the injury.
In this type of situation, it’s very likely the settlement comes along with stipulations. Typically upon accepting the settlement amount, the injured party relinquishes their right to pursue any future medical expenses related to that workplace injury.
There are two main types of settlements that a workers’ compensation provider may offer you. The first is a lump sum payment amount. This is where you agree to give up certain rights, typically to take legal action against the company in the future, in exchange for a one-time payment for your injury or illness.
The second type of settlement that is typically offered is a structured settlement. In this case, you will receive small payments, usually weekly, over an established period of time. This time could be one, ten, or twenty years depending on the specific settlement that you agree to.
Factors To Consider Before Accepting A Settlement
Guaranteed Payment – With a settlement offer, you are guaranteed payment of the amount specified in the settlement. If you refuse the settlement offer, you take on the risk of litigation. It’s possible that a judge may rule in favor of your employer, which would leave you with little to no benefits. Under the same assumption, a judge may rule that you receive more compensation than the initial settlement offered to you.
Rights You Are Giving Up – All settlements come with stipulations which require you, as the injured party, to give up certain future legal rights. You should take into account the future medical care you will need for your injury. If you know that you will need surgery, doctor visits, and expensive medication, giving up your right to seek compensation for future medical expenses may not be in your best interests.
Is The Settlement Legally Binding? – Different states across the country have various laws and regulations regarding the workers’ compensation process. In some cases, you may not be able to legally settle a claim without a judge approving the amount. In other cases, it may be illegal for a workers’ compensation provider to impose you give up your right to seek compensation for future medical expenses related to your workplace injury.
Deciding whether to accept a potential workers’ compensation settlement can be a lengthy process that takes many factors into consideration. You should seek the legal assistance of a trained attorney who practices solely in the workers’ compensation sector of the law to represent your best interests.