Workers' Compensation Claims: To Settle Or Not To Settle?
One of the biggest concerns you might have about your workers' compensation claim is getting a fair amount. This is especially important if your injury has resulted in a lasting impairment. Before accepting a settlement from your employer's insurance company, you need to weigh the pros and cons.
Why Should You Settle?
When you receive an offer from the insurance company, you have the option of turning it down and going to trial. If you do turn it down though, there is a possibility that the court might award you less than what was originally offered. By accepting the offer before the trial stage, you ensure that you get benefits without risking them in court. If you are in need of medical care now, you can use the funds received from the settlement to pay your bills now so that you do not have to stress over them later.
Accepting now also has the added advantage of receiving your benefits now as opposed to after a possibly lengthy trial. This can help save on stress from your injury and worrying about your financial matters.
Why Should You Not Settle?
Depending on the state in which you live, you could possibly be giving up your right to all future claims against the insurance company after you settle. If your injuries require additional treatment, such as surgery, you would be left to pay for it yourself.
Another possible downside to settling now is that if you receive a lump sum settlement from the insurance company, you could spend it all now. This could result in financial problems. However, if you wait and allow your attorney to negotiate, you could possibly receive a structured settlement that would ensure you have money over a more long-term basis. It is important to remember that the wording of the settlement is important.
It is crucial that your settlement offers you protection in the event that your injuries require further treatment later. For instance, your attorney could negotiate an open agreement that allows you to reopen the claim in the event that you need medical care in the future. If you decide to apply for Social Security disability benefits later, your settlement also needs to be structured so that it does not impact your disability payments. In some instances, the amount of money you receive can lower your payments.
Settlements in workers' compensation claims are complex and can have a lasting impact on your finances and medical care. Before accepting any claim, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney to learn more about this topic. He or she can review your options for settling and also work to ensure the settlement takes into account your future.