Most hurt workers get better and return to their jobs. Some, though, get offered a settlement. Settlements can be good but only if the hurt worker is careful and gives a lot of thought about the implications before they agree to it. Read on and find out about the top three most important considerations to address before you settle.
Consider the Future
Settlement sums can sound very attractive to a worker who's been out of work for some time. The partial disability payments from the workers' comp carrier are not enough to replace the previous salary. It's advisable, however, that you stop and consider the long-term consequences of your workplace injury and how things might get worse in the future. Is the settlement enough to replace what you would have earned for the rest of your working life? If you are disabled, can you still work at other jobs? Does the settlement include future medical benefits? The best way to proceed is by speaking with a workers' comp lawyer who can evaluate the settlement and advise you when the offer might be inadequate to meet your future needs.
Settlements Are Negotiable
Some hurt workers think they have to accept the first settlement offer but all settlements are negotiable. Not only is the lump-sum payment negotiable but nearly every aspect of the settlement is flexible. It pays to know what you might get — otherwise, you might think you are being paid a nice sum of money. Settlement payments are based on things like your previous salary, your age, your education level, job experience, and level of disability. Finally, settlements tend to follow local trends so the amount you are offered may be partially based on how recent similar cases have settled in your area. Also, know that settlements are not just about the lump-sum payment. You must also consider how the money is paid to you (in regular payments or as a lump-sum), how it affects your Social Security and Medicare benefits, what rehabilitation services you will receive, medical treatment issues, and more.
Turning Down the Settlement
If you do find the settlement inadequate, you need to consider what might happen if you take the case further. You can take your employer and the workers' comp carrier to court and sue them. There is a process to follow before you get to that point that differs depending on your state. When you pursue the case beyond the settlement negotiation stage, your costs and the time it takes to resolve your case is multiplied. It's best to rely on the expert advice of your workers' comp lawyer when deciding how to proceed.
For more information, contact a workers' compensation attorney today.Share