How do Workers’ Compensation Settlements Work?November 1, 2021
Workers’ Compensation is insurance coverage that your employer is required to carry, except in certain situations. Most employers must carry this insurance that provides benefits to employees when they get injured at work.
Although most people think of construction as where workplace injuries occur, and that is the most common industry for those injuries, workplace accidents and injuries can and do happen at any job. Your employer must have this insurance to help you cover your medical expenses and your lost income.
However, like most insurance companies, when you submit a claim, they will not be thrilled or quick to pay your benefits. Insurance companies are looking to make as much money as possible, and paying the full value of your claim would hinder their profits. You may want to speak with an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer to help you.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ Compensation is different from a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim requires you to show that someone else acted negligently and caused an accident in which you suffered injuries. Workers’ Compensation, however, is no-fault insurance, which means that, unless you deliberately injured yourself at work, you are entitled to benefits under your employer’s policy.
Those benefits may not cover as much as what a personal injury claim could. Therefore, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can advise you about your course of action to ensure maximum compensation.
Permanent partial disability. Permanent partial disability is caused by a work-related accident in which you suffered a permanent injury, but you can still perform some type of work. In this instance, you would be entitled to compensation for your permanent disability. You could also get compensation for your reduction in income based on your inability to work at the same level and capacity as you previously could.
Because a permanent partial disability will usually result in a substantial amount of money, your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier will likely try to settle your claim quickly and for less than the full value. They want to do this because paying out the full value of your claim could seriously cut into their bottom line. It is possible that hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars could be at stake, depending on the severity of your injuries.
Temporary total disability. A temporary total disability means that you cannot work at all, but only for a limited time. Your employer’s insurance carrier may still try to settle your claim in the hopes that they pay you less money than your claim is worth.
Even though you know you can go back to work eventually, you may have setbacks that extend your time out of work. Settling too soon and for too little could mean you end up paying out of pocket for some expenses because the settlement did not cover all your needs.
Expenses. No matter the situation, you are entitled to reimbursement of expenses already paid and payment for upcoming expenses. Under your employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy, you should be entitled to payment of your medical bills. Your employer’s policy should cover any bills that you have related to your workplace accident.
You should also be able to get lost income. Although you cannot attempt to get non-economic damages such as pain and suffering as you could in a personal injury claim, your lost income amount could still be substantial, especially if you have a permanent disability.
Calculating a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Immediately after you get injured at work, you need to let your manager or supervisor know what happened. They will need to complete some paperwork. You will then need to file a claim with your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier. Assuming you have provided them with all the documentation they requested, which could be a great deal of information, they may approve your claim.
However, just having your claim approved does not mean you should expect money soon. Especially if your claim is worth a large sum of money, the insurance company may try to settle with you. They may offer you payment of your medical bills and future treatment. They will do this in one of two ways:
- Lump-sum payment. An injured employee receives a onetime payment that covers medical bills and lost income but may not include enough for future needs.
- Structured payment. An injured employee receives regular payments over a certain amount of time.
How to Know When a Settlement is Right
Before a settlement is reached, you should calculate all your needs so that you make sure you do not accept an inadequate settlement. You must make sure that your settlement amount covers all your needs so that you do not have to pay out of your own pocket to cover medical bills and lost income from an accident at work.
This calculation will include your future needs. Depending on the type of injury you have suffered and whether you can return to work at all or in the same job, the amount of money you need could be substantial. However, making this calculation without guidance can present challenges and could result in a gross underestimate of your financial needs.
When you partner with a trusted legal advisor, you can work together to calculate the existing financial needs you have as well as your future needs. If your injuries are severe and you cannot return to work, your legal team may even call on medical experts to help accurately estimate how much your future medical treatment will cost. Then you can calculate the lost income over that same period and arrive at a suitable settlement figure. The last thing you need is to be concerned about how you will support yourself after your workplace accident.
A Workers’ Compensation settlement is right for you only if it covers your financial obligations. Otherwise, a smaller settlement risks your financial stability. To help you, call a skilled lawyer. During this entire process, you will need to focus all your effort and energy on your health and well-being. Your ability to recover, get back to your regular life, and get back to work all depend on your ability to focus on your physical recovery. When you partner with a trusted legal advocate, you know that your legal needs are being tended to, giving you adequate time and energy to focus on your recovery.
In some cases, you may also need to go to court, even if your claim has been approved. When workplace injuries are extremely severe, resulting in long periods of medical treatment and time out of work, insurance companies may not be willing to settle. Sometimes, they will not even agree to negotiate, even though they have approved the claim. Stall tactics are common with Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers.
If you have a lawyer at your side, advocating for your best interests, they are already up to speed on your Workers’ Compensation claim and will be ready to go to court at a moment’s notice. When the insurance company is not willing to negotiate, going to court and having a judge render a decision may be the only option left. Do not approach this situation without adequate legal guidance and support.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Workers Get the Help They Deserve
Getting injured on the job creates numerous problems. Not only are you stuck on the couch, but also you probably have some pain and may not be able to get back to work or your daily routine soon. Having a Workers’ Compensation settlement might be a good thing, but only if it really covers your needs. The Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton stand ready to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation.
With offices in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.