Have you been offered a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim? Are you wondering if it’s possible to receive one? What exactly is a workers’ compensation settlement?
A settlement of your claim can mean different things.
Some workers mistakenly think they have settled their claim when paying for permanent partial disability (PPD). Not true. If you have a lifetime medical award or are on a wage award, your claim remains open.
In other situations, the insurance adjuster or case nurse may say they have “closed their file,” leading the injured worker to believe there is nothing more they can do. False. Suppose you have an Award Order from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Your case will likely open unless you agree to a full and final settlement, which closes your claim regardless of what the insurance carrier says.
A complete and final settlement is usually a situation where you receive an agreed-upon amount of money in exchange for closing out your workers’ compensation claim. If it is a complete and full settlement of your medical award and wage award, your case is over after the final payment. In this scenario, you would no longer be eligible for any medical or wage benefits from the insurance carrier even if you have a “Lifetime Medical Award.”
In some instances, just the “wage” part of the award is settled separately from a medical award. The injured worker would still be eligible for medical benefits and expenses related thereto.
Most injured workers do not know how much compensation they should get in exchange for settling their claim. If they do not have an experienced, knowledgeable attorney helping them, they are at the mercy of the goodwill of the insurance carrier. No matter how nice the insurance adjuster may seem, you can rest assured they are not looking out for the injured worker’s interests. Their goal is to save money.
A fair settlement should consider the severity of the injury, future medical costs, the number of wages the worker is eligible for, how long they might receive wage benefits, and other potential future costs for which the carrier might be responsible. Unfortunately, injured workers are not entitled to money for pain and suffering as they might be in a personal injury case.
Personal injury settlements and workers’ compensation settlements are different and have various factors.
The statements contained herein are for general information purposes only. This information is not considered specific legal advice to your situation as Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.