Have you been offered a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim? If so, or if you’re wondering how to receive a settlement, here is a breakdown of Virginia workers’ compensation settlement process.
A “settlement” of your claim can mean many things. Some workers mistakenly think when they receive payment towards permanent partial disability (PPD), they have settled their claim and it is over. Not true. If you have a lifetime medical award or are on a wage award, your claim is still open.
In other situations, the insurance adjuster or case nurse may say they have “closed their file,” and lead the injured worker to believe there is nothing they can do. This is also false. If you have an Award Order from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, your case is likely open unless you agreed to a full and final settlement, which closes your claim regardless of what the insurance carrier says.
A full and final settlement is usually a situation where you receive an agreed upon amount of money in exchange for closing 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 settlement is finalized. In this case, you are no longer eligible for any medical or wage benefits from the insurance carrier even if you have a “Lifetime Medical Award.”
In some instances, the “wage” part of the award is settled separately from a medical award. In this situation, the injured worker is still be eligible for related 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 “good will” of the insurance carrier. No matter how nice the insurance adjuster may seem, you can rest assured they do not have the injured worker’s interest at heart.
A fair settlement should consider the severity of the injury and future medical costs, the amount of wages the worker is eligible for and 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 take into account different factors.
The statements contained herein are for general information purposes only and are 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.