Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Settling a workers’ compensation case is something that most people on workers’ compensation eventually decide to do. There are two parties involved in a workers’ compensation settlement: the worker (you, the claimant) represented by your attorney if you have one and the company you work or worked for who will be represented by their insurance company or third party administrator. A third party administrator is like an insurance company except they do not use their own money to settle the case.
It is important to note that if you (the worker) decide to settle your case and a settlement is reached, the employer’s insurance company no longer owes you any money after they pay the settlement. Because of this we advise you to discuss any future expenses that you may have from your injury at length with your attorney, as well as any other factors that may affect your future financial status.
Settling a workers’ compensation case is completely voluntary, so if you wish to settle this does not mean that the employer’s insurance company has to agree to settle, and if the insurance company wishes to settle you are completely free to choose if you want to settle or not. Your workers’ compensation attorney will help you decide if it is the best option and how much money you should expect for a settlement. In order to try and settle your workers’ compensation case, a “Demand for Settlement” must be made by either the worker (you) or your attorney.
After the demand is made, the workers’ employer or their insurance company will make an offer. Often this offer is not enough to satisfy the worker, and their attorney will engage in negotiations with the employer or insurance company. This process can go back and forth with offers and counter offers many times before an agreement is made, if any agreement is made. Your workers’ compensation lawyer and their team will make sure they do not agree to a settlement that is less than what you want. If a settlement is reached, a Compromise and Release Agreement must be filed and approved by a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge.
In deciding whether or not to settle your claim there are many factors that you need to consider including: average weekly pay before the work injury, how long the worker will be unable to work, age of the worker, other sources of income the worker might have, the amount of time the worker was receiving benefits, if there is litigation that has not been resolved yet, if there are any independent medical examinations that were performed, and whether or not Medicare has to approve of the settlement. This is not a complete list of things to consider because there are many different factors, but these are the most common factors that play a part in the decision.
After a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge approves of the settlement, the employer’s insurance company has thirty days to pay the amount agreed upon.
The most common reasons that people settle their workers’ compensation case are:
- To end the hassle of dealing with a workers’ compensation case and the employer’s insurance company
- To move on with their life
- The worker and their doctor agree that they have reached the maximum level of recovery possible after the injury
Here are a couple of things to consider before deciding to settle your workers’ compensation case:
- Future medical costs
- Possible future surgeries due to the injury
- How long the worker (you) will be unable to work
If you do decide to settle your case, we hope the information above helps you in your decision. If you would like a Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist to analyze and evaluate your case, give us a call. 800-518-4LAW (4529). Make sure you get everything you deserve.