Workers’ Compensation: 6 Factors That Can Affect The Final Settlement
By Space Coast Daily // June 21, 2022
A worker is entitled to compensation following a work-related injury, which is fair. However, the victim must first go through a legal process to establish the compensation they should receive.
As the legal process progresses, various elements may positively or negatively impact the eventual settlement. Among these are the following:
1. The Injuries Sustained
The severity of the victim’s injuries significantly impacts the eventual payout for a workers’ compensation claim. The more serious the injuries, the better the final payment for the victim will be. If the victim has injuries that limit their ability to work, the final settlement will most likely favor them in terms of the amount of compensation they should receive. In addition, injuries that prevent a person from returning to their old profession are always valued considerably.
It’s essential to note that if your injuries allow you to continue working and earn the same or a slightly lower salary than what you previously earned, the settlement might be lower.
2. The Attorney You Hire
Hiring an inexperienced attorney unfamiliar with compensation cases to represent you might not develop a strong claim. It’s therefore essential to work with reputable and experienced law firms within your location, such as attorneys at Terry Katz & Associates to help you come up with a strong claim that’s worth a valuable settlement.
Do a comprehensive background check on a worker compensation attorney before hiring them to see if they’re qualified to defend you, how many similar cases they’ve handled, and if the settlement was in their client’s favor. If you discover that most settlements were not in the victim’s favor, it’s possible that the attorney lacks experience with similar cases; therefore, you should keep looking for competent counsel.
3. The Doctor’s Credibility
Doctors’ testimony is crucial in most, if not all, workers’ compensation cases. If the worker’s compensation doctor refuses to testify, the final settlement may not favor you. Working with a doctor who has a solid track record, is familiar with workers’ compensation claims, and is prepared to testify on your behalf can help you achieve a reasonable payout. Before beginning the legal process, you should inform your doctor that you seek compensation to see if you can rely on their testimony.
4. Future Medical Issues
If the sustained injuries are likely to cause future medical problems, the settlement will likely be in your favor. For instance, if you sustain back injuries, you might experience medical issues affecting your hips or knees as time passes. Therefore, in such a case, the judge might rule in your favor since you’ll be required to treat these issues when they arise, or it might be impossible for you to work in the future.
5. The Stage At Which The Settlement Is Taking Place
The time of the settlement can positively or negatively affect the final settlement. It’s common for two similar workers’ compensation cases to differ in terms of the amount each receives depending on the settlement timing. This case is expected when the insurance company is interested in settling the case early to avoid expenses that might occur during the legal process. While the insurers are finding a way to evade future expenses, they’re willing to increase the settlement offer to take care of some future expenses while saving themselves some money.
Common times when the settlement might be determined include:
■ When the claim is determined as compensable by the Commission and the insurer has accepted the ruling, but the medical reports show that the victim doesn’t require further treatment.
■ If the insurer hasn’t determined if they’ll accept the claim as compensable.
■ If a permanency hearing has been held and the involved parties agree to compensate the victim.
■ If the independent medical evaluation determines that the injuries treated aren’t related to the workplace.
6. Willingness To Continue Fighting
Insurers can be persistent in their defense, aiming to limit the amount you’ll receive. Though your case might be solid and compensable, your willingness to continue fighting for your rights will be tested, especially since compensation cases tend to be lengthy. Therefore, your choice to give up or continue fighting will determine the final results.
After getting injured at your workplace, you might think you’ll receive your compensation upon filing the claim. However, this is far from the truth. The process might take longer, and if you’re faint-hearted, you might give up and receive no compensation or less than what you deserve. Nevertheless, working with an experienced lawyer can help you determine the right time to settle and how much. They’ll also advise you on how to go about the entire process to get what is rightfully yours.