If you have suffered an injury on the job, your first concern should be healing. But medical costs, lost wages, and other financial hardships can make it difficult to focus on your recovery. Workers’ compensation laws exist to provide relief for the direct and indirect effects of an on-the-job injury.
Workers’ compensation claims and settlements vary on an individual basis, but there are some general guidelines for the process as a whole. Here’s what you need to know if you’re wondering, “Will worker’s comp offer me a settlement?”
I GOT HURT AT WORK. WILL I GET A SETTLEMENT?
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, you must be an employee of a company that has (or should have) workers’ comp insurance. Contractors, freelancers, and consultants are not eligible. Also, your illness or injury has to be job-related.
Settlements can cover temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and future medical care. There are two main types of settlement arrangements: “stipulation and award,” and “compromise and release.” Stipulation and award, paid over a period of weeks or years, involves the insurance company agreeing to provide current and future medical care. Compromise and release is paid out as a lump sum, settling the case and ending the relationship between the worker and the insurance company. The type of settlement available to you will depend on the severity of your injury and whether it is temporary or permanent, among other considerations.
HOW MUCH IS THE AVERAGE WORKERS’ COMP SETTLEMENT?
Workers’ compensation settlements have ranged anywhere from a few hundred dollars to as high as $10 million. The average workers’ comp settlement is around $21,000. This amount does tend to increase by injury severity, and there are a few other factors that can drive it up as well. These include:
- Filing an appeal after the initial settlement
- Negotiating the settlement instead of accepting the first offer
- Hiring a lawyer to ensure the best legal advice and strategy
DO ALL WORKERS’ COMP CASES END IN A SETTLEMENT?
Not every workers’ compensation claim results in a settlement or award, but approximately 73% of filed claims do. Most claims involving permanent disability or death result in payouts. And in some complicated cases, the claim will involve a hearing with an administrative law judge deciding the details of compensation. It’s important to note that settlement can take weeks, months or even over a year to conclude, and there are no guarantees. The best way to determine whether you should settle or take your case to court is to involve the professional guidance of an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
WHAT CAN I DO TO INCREASE MY CHANCES OF GETTING A SETTLEMENT?
What you do and don’t do in the aftermath of an on-the-job injury can have a significant impact on your workers’ comp claim. These DOs and DONTs will help give you a brief overview of how to increase your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve:
- DO immediately report your injury to your employer, as delaying your claim or missing the filing deadline can result in a denial.
- DO seek prompt medical treatment to ensure comprehensive documentation of your injury, pain levels, and physical restrictions.
- DON’T abandon the treatment plan provided by your doctor, even if you think you feel better.
- DO submit to an independent medical examination for insurance company records.
- DON’T exaggerate, embellish, or lie about your injury and pain to the independent medical examiner or insurance adjuster.
- DON’T skip any scheduled legal proceedings and appointments.
- DO hire a workers’ comp attorney to guide you through the process for the best results.
GET THE BIGGEST SETTLEMENT WORKERS’ COMP ATTORNEYS IN SAN DIEGO
Every workers’ compensation case is different, but the one constant is the impact an experienced attorney can have on your case. At The Law Office of Matthew Russell, we’re here to help you through every step of the claims process.
Let’s work together to increase your chances of collecting the maximum benefits for your injury. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 544-1506.