From time to time, I get calls from prospective clients because they received a workers compensation settlement offer to end their workers compensation claim. The prospective client received the offer directly from the insurance carrier adjuster. The adjuster insists the claim is fair and reasonable. The question I am always asked is — So now what?
First, talk to an experienced workers compensation attorney before ever agreeing to any settlement offer made by an insurance carrier. Often these settlement offers are well below the actual value of your case.
Additionally, settlements are final. That is important and understated. Once you agree to a settlement and have it approved by a Workers Compensation Judge, you can NEVER have your case re-opened. If your injury were to worsen or an additional medical development occurs that relates to your work activities, if you have agreed to a settlement, you are out of luck. Period.
That is precisely why it is absolutely critical to have a workers compensation attorney on your side. Remember, the adjuster is not the person drafting the settlements documents. It is the attorney for the insurance carrier. Their attorney will be present at the settlement hearing as well. They have an attorney on their side. Shouldn’t you?
There are numerous factors that go into not just the value of your settlement, but whether you should even settle your claim. Those factors are:
- Severity of your injury
- Permanency of your injury
- Extent of medical care remaining
- Future medical costs
- Likelihood of returning to your pre-injury job
- Likelihood of returning to any work
- Procedural posture of your case
- Strength/Weakness of evidence in your case
- Financial hardships
- Social Security Disability or Retirement considerations
Practice Note: Settlements in workers compensation are often times misunderstood by injured workers. It is important to manage your expectations. Remember, outside a very few exceptions, if you are injured at work, your only recourse is through workers compensation. You can’t sue your employer separately for other damages. Additionally, there is NO pain and suffering in workers compensation.
It’s not an easy decision and you should not be in any rush to settle. Talk to a professional first. There is no reason not to. The rights you will be giving up as part of settlement are just to important. Besides, it costs you nothing. A Consultation with me at Mooney & Associates is FREE. You can simply email me at [email protected] or call us at 1-877-632-4656 to set up your FREE consultation. We have offices all over South Central Pennsylvania to meet with you in a convenient location. Our main offices include Chambersburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, York, Gettysburg, and Hanover.
There are other factors, but these ten are very important. We at Mooney & Associates can help walk you through these factors to determine the appropriate value of your case and to determine if settlement is even right at this point.