There will come a time when it is appropriate to settle a workers’ compensation case, as opposed to continuing through the legal system to seek additional financial recovery. When you are sure that you will receive a fair settlement that meets your needs and that you do not want to proceed further, accepting a settlement can be a good next step.
Depending on where you live and the employer guidelines you agreed to when you onboarded with your company, you may have a limited amount of time to accept a settlement. This can influence the decision of when to settle.
Times to Settle a Workers’ Compensation Case
Your employer and the workers’ compensation provider will provide you with a settlement if your injuries are proven to be work-related. Some situations make more sense to accept the initial settlement offer sooner rather than later. These include:
- Prognosis: If your prognosis is poor and you do not have many years left to live, your lawyer may recommend that you accept a fair settlement and move on to better enjoy the remaining time that you have with your family.
- Recovery: If you decide that you simply want to move on and put the process behind you to focus on your recovery, it could be understandable to accept a settlement and end the legal process.
- Rehabilitation: If you need to undergo extensive rehabilitation, some clients find it easier to accept a fair settlement and focus exclusively on their rehabilitation. Just remember that you always have your lawyer to help you work on the case while you focus on rehab.
- Ability to return to the same job: If you have the ability to return to the same job after you settle, it might be better to accept a settlement and return to work to receive regular compensation than wait for the possibility of a better settlement outcome.
- Diminished work capacity: If your injury limits your future work capacity, it is important to ensure that you receive a settlement to cover your lost work ability.
- Medical expenses: If you face mounting medical expenses, it may not be ideal to accept a settlement that leaves you with paying a lot of ongoing medical expenses. However, if debt collectors want payment now, it might be time to settle.
These are some of the times when your lawyer may advise you to accept a workers’ compensation settlement over continuing through the legal process. The exact recommendations may vary. In some states or with some employers, you may have to accept a workers’ compensation settlement after a designated amount of time from the date of your injury or illness. This may be a factor in whether you should accept an initial workers’ compensation claim or not. Your workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you about the specifics of your unique case.
Understanding Settlement Details
Before accepting a workers’ compensation settlement offer, it is important to carefully read and understand the settlement details that you will agree to by signing it. Look to see if the settlement will provide enough money to cover future medical expenses and lost wages. Check to see if there are any stipulations to ensure that you are comfortable with the terms of the agreement.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Settlements
There are four types of workers’ compensation settlements: agreement settlement, compromise settlement, contingent settlement, and combination settlement. An agreement settlement is when both parties agree to the terms and you keep your future rights. A compromise settlement is settled by a third party when the parties cannot agree and then it ends future rights. A contingent settlement is based on an event that may occur in the future, but with contingencies. A combination settlement may consist of several of these settlement types.
Settlement vs. Trial
Accepting a settlement ends the process, even in a workers’ compensation case involving a third party that is liable. Unless you receive a fair offer that covers your past, current, and future expenses or have other compelling reasons to settle, your lawyer may recommend that you continue through the process before accepting a settlement. Ultimately, it is your decision on when to accept a settlement. Your lawyer can walk you through the process and help you to make the most informed decision possible.
Contact Us Today
If you are not sure whether it is time to settle your workers’ compensation case, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 603-4224 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. We can answer any questions that you may have about the legal process. There is no cost for the initial consultation or any risk.