As worker’s compensation attorney, we hear this question often from workers that have experienced a workplace injury. Unfortunately, it is a difficult question to answer. Whether it be for a back injury or some other workplace injury, once you accept a settlement in a worker’s comp case you may be foregoing future benefits. It is important to remember that before you agree to anything. When asking if you should settle a worker’s comp case, here are several things to consider.
When you accept a settlement, your weekly benefits may end. Accepting a settlement will essentially close your case. With this in mind, before you accept a settlement you should consult with your worker’s compensation attorney about the extent of your injuries, if you’ll be able to return to work and what giving up weekly benefits means to your financial health.
In some instances, when a settlement is accepted, the insurer may be able to stop paying your medical expenses. If you injury is going to require ongoing medical care for years to come, you may want to consider this before accepting a settlement. Depending on the circumstances of your case a “Medicare Set-Aside” Account may make sense for you. Again, it is important to discuss your current medical needs as well as your potential medical needs with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney so they can help you plan and prepare for medical care expenses if you do plan to settle your case.
Settlements Need to Be Approved
A settlement is a private agreement between you and the insurer. The details of the settlement are typically handled by each party’s attorney. Once the details are agreed upon, your settlement will still need to be approved by a worker’s compensation judge. The Judge may decide not to approve a settlement if he or she feels that the injured worker is not being adequately compensated, does not have a clear understanding of the terms or determines that the settlement is not voluntary. Before you decide to settle, you should talk with your worker’s compensation attorney about the likelihood of a judge approving your settlement to determine if it makes sense to proceed with it.
There are many other complex factors that come in to play when you’re trying to decide if it’s right to settle a worker’s compensation case including effect on other benefits, like Social Security Disability. If you are faced with this situation, it is best to contact a worker’s compensation attorney to help guide you through the settlement process and ensure you’re getting all that you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll discuss whether settling your worker’s comp case is the right move for you.