If your employer has workers compensation insurance, you may apply to collect if you are injured at work. An employer, whether public or private, must have insurance if it has at least one employee. If you work as a subcontractor for a private firm, and you are not an employee, you cannot collect workers compensation. You do not get a workers' compensation settlement, so to speak, as it doesn’t come in one lump sum. You generally get weekly payments that cover you while you are not able to work. These payments are about two-thirds of your salary. However, workers compensation does pay for medical expenses and death benefits if your loved one died in a work-related accident, and these benefits could be considered as a settlement.
If you do want to settle the claim, you most likely will not be entitled to any more payments. You should always contact a workers' compensation attorney before you make such a decision.
How Long Do Workers’ Compensation Claims Take?
A claim may take a varying amount of time depending on the circumstances. The state’s workers compensation board investigates the accident prior to approving you for workers compensation. If you work for the federal government, the Department of Labor Office of Workers Compensation Programs administers the programs.
If you are applying for a workers' compensation future medical settlement because of long-term injuries, approval for a short-term claim may come before any long-term settlement. You will have to provide medical evidence that shows you may be entitled to future payments because of a long-term injury.
If you do decide to settle, you must go through a hearing to review the settlement. If the workers' compensation hearing officer or judge deems that you understand the settlement and believes the settlement to be fair, the officer or judge will approve the settlement. Settlements take longer than accepting payments because you have to work out a fair amount, negotiate that amount and then attend the hearing.
Workers’ Compensation Settlement Payouts
If you wish to apply for a workers' compensation settlement back injury, you may want to discuss your choices with an attorney. Back injuries and other catastrophic injuries are often long-term and sometimes permanent injuries. Workers comp settlement amounts may not be enough to cover the amount of time you are out of work or future medical bills, especially if you settle on your own. An attorney experienced in workers compensation law may be able to get you a fair settlement that could cover catastrophic injuries.
If your state covers medical expenses even if you settle a workers' compensation claim, the insurance company may not pay the medical bills quickly, if at all.
Additionally, even if you do come to an agreement with the insurer, the state workers' compensation agency must approve the settlement, including the amount that you will receive. It is best to consider whether the amount will be enough to cover everything, and if not, keep the claim open.
Determining a Settlement Amount
It is often difficult to determine an appropriate amount for long-term injuries. Workers' compensation attorneys will attempt to figure an amount that best covers what benefits you might be entitled to in the future—that is, if you were to keep the payments, and whether you would actually keep receiving the payments. Workers comp claims do not take pain and suffering, the loss of a loved one, loss of consortium, loss of companionship or punitive damages into consideration.
The amount for the settlement only covers you for lost time from work and medical benefits based on your medical records. And, if you are permanently disabled because of the injury, the claim must consider present value—that is, how much the insurance company will pay out over the next 20 years.
Contact Wallace and Graham, P.A.
If you have been injured at work, contact Wallace and Graham, P.A. as soon as possible to discuss your case. During your consultation, you may discuss whether you want to file a workers' compensation claim, apply for a workers' compensation settlement or file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, especially if your work-related injury results in long-term disability.
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