Negotiating is an important aspect of managing a workers’ compensation settlement, as you may not receive a large enough settlement from the first offer. Unlike other forms of negotiation, there are additional regulations and statutes that can impact the outcome. You may need to have a state workers’ compensation agency review the settlement before it becomes final, depending on the laws in the specific state the case is in.
Negotiating is not your only option. You can accept or negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement offer. However, if you accept the settlement offer, the matter is closed, and you will not be able to revisit it later if you incur ongoing or future expenses related to your injuries. Our workers’ compensation attorneys recommend you always ask for professional help before you sign anything with the insurance company. The paperwork might be confusing and complex in language and provisions, so a lawyer would be a tremendous help to you to make sense of everything.
Workers’ Compensation Law
Accepting a settlement may end your workers’ compensation case. Some other things to know about workers’ compensation laws that could be relevant in negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement include the types of settlements. There are several types of settlements related to how the compensation is paid. You can negotiate a settlement type that fits your needs. In some states, it must be approved by a governing board, and any agreement can be denied if that board feels that it is unacceptable.
Another thing to consider is that medical expenses can be claimed. Medical expenses can be expensive, and you may struggle with them for years. You can claim medical expenses, which will lower your financial burden. With this in mind, you can reduce the amount of compensation that you ask for without worrying about not receiving enough to cover medical bills.
Steps in Workers’ Compensation Settlement Negotiations
While the exact steps involved in a workers’ compensation settlement negotiation may vary based on the situation, state, and parties involved, you can expect to generally:
- Have your workers’ compensation lawyer send a demand letter to the insurance company with the amount that you seek for settlement, including access to relevant documentation if necessary.
- Receive a counteroffer. The insurance company may make a counteroffer or accept the settlement amount.
- Continue reviewing the counteroffer until you reach an acceptable amount for both parties.
- Spend a few days or weeks in the negotiating process until the process is complete.
- Submit the agreed-upon settlement terms to the state’s governing authority for workers’ compensation settlements for final approval.
Each case is different. This list highlights just some of the steps you can expect to see during the negotiating process. However, the experience with your case might be different and does not necessarily mean that the process is not going well. If you have any questions about how your case will proceed and how long it will take to complete the negotiating process, it is a good idea to discuss this with your workers’ compensation lawyer.
Filing a Claim
To file a claim, talk to your employer’s HR department. Employers must have a way of documenting and filing claims with the appropriate agency or insurance company. Snags can occur when a company blocks workers from claiming workers’ compensation benefits. If the company makes the process difficult, you can bypass them and go to the insurance company or oversight agency directly.
Once your claim is filed, there is a time limit for how long the appropriate organization has to respond to it. During this time, your employer has worksite-related tasks to finish. Your claim will be denied or approved. If it is approved, you can begin collecting benefits. If it is denied, you can file an appeal.
Settlement vs. Trial
The claims process for workers’ compensation benefits is designed to avoid legal action unless it is necessary. However, you can be offered a settlement agreement by the other party as a means of closing the case quickly. Settlement agreements can be an effective way of handling claims, but they can also require negotiation.
You can renegotiate a settlement agreement offer that you receive. This happens often and can make it possible for you to claim more in compensation. However, this process can be difficult and you may not reach terms that everyone can agree to. Some states have a system in place to handle this problem. A workers’ compensation judge can help you reach a compromise that is legally binding.
Contact Us to Schedule a No-Risk Consultation
If you need help to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement, contact the office of Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 603-4224. The consultation is free and you can have your questions answered by a member of our legal team. Before you sign any workers’ compensation agreement, make sure that you have a workers’ compensation lawyer review it to ensure that it is a fair offer. You always want to protect your own interests.