A Guide To Worker's Compensation Settlements
In some cases, you may have the option of getting a settlement from your worker's compensation insurance company rather than going to trial. Here is a guide to evaluating this option.
Pros and Cons of a Settlement
The settlement is a good idea if you feel that you won't have a strong worker's compensation case when going to trial. If your injuries aren't severe, a judge might classify the injury as deserving of even less money than what the insurance company claimed. But in most cases, going to trial can help raise your monthly payments or the lump sum offered by insurance. This is because the insurance company may set low limits on payouts out of self interest, while a judge is more impartial in assessing the damages owed.
Evaluating the Form of a Settlement
A worker's comp settlement can be either in the form of weekly payments or a lump sum. Make sure that the company offers you a payment in the form you prefer. With a lump sum, it will help you afford more expensive items upfront, such as a home to keep you off the street. You could also invest the money and end up with a larger sum as time goes on. But, a lump sum can also be dangerous if you're coping with a long term disability. If the money disappears and you are unable to work, it could spell trouble. In that regard, a weekly or monthly check is a safer bet.
Does the Settlement Include Medical Costs?
Another thing to consider is whether your lump sum accounts for any future medical treatments that are related to your injury. In some cases, a lump sum settlement would prohibit you from going after the company for future medical expenses. Avoid this if you are unsure of the prognosis of the injury or you may need expensive treatments in the future.
Speaking With a Workers Compensation Attorney Helps
When you are undecided on whether to pursue a higher sum by going to trial, it helps to speak with a workers compensation attorney. They can help you evaluate the settlement you were offered, based on comparison with past clients. Depending on the severity of your injury, the total medical costs, and the amount of time that you will be disabled, the lawyer can give you a fairly accurate estimate of whether the judge will evaluate your case in a favorable light. And, should you go to trial, your lawyer will be your spokesperson to help you get the highest payout possible.