Accepting a settlement will make your case final and prevents you from appealing or disputing the amount.
When you are injured on the job and your employer admits fault, the insurance company will often try to settle the case with you. Because accepting a settlement will make your case final and prevents you from appealing or disputing the amount, it is often best to contact a St. Louis workers compensation lawyer. Before you consider accepting a settlement, there are some important things you must know.
Things to Consider Before Accepting the Settlement
- Settlement Amount: The most important aspect of any settlement is the payout. You must ensure that the settlement will adequately cover any medical expenses or loss of wages that you have or will continue to suffer. This should include costs associated with traveling to see a specialist or for new job training programs. One way to do this is to calculate the total value for your injury claim. This can be done by contacting an experienced St. Louis workers compensation lawyer. You also want to consider whether the settlement will impact any Medicare or Social Security benefits.
- Whether to Accept the Insurance Company Doctor’s Evaluation: The insurance company will send you to their doctor who will evaluate your injury. This rating will directly impact the settlement amount that the insurance company is willing to offer you. If you feel that their doctor’s rating is inadequate, you should request a different one of their doctors or visit one at your own expense.
- Emotional Costs of Continuing Payments: While you are receiving payments from the insurance company for your workers compensation claim, the insurance company will constantly want to ensure that you are still injured. To ensure that you are not faking your injury, they may require you to see their doctor every few months and hire investigators to determine whether you truly are injured. Once they have a reason, they may attempt to end your benefits. A settlement will put a stop to this for you.
- Weekly Payments End: You should also understand that settling the case means that you will receive one lump sum instead of weekly payouts. If you’re used to receiving the fixed income payments, a reduced lump sum may significantly change your financial situation.
- Attorney Costs: Depending on if you hired an attorney and, if so, how you structured your fee, you also may be liable for attorney costs.
Once the Settlement is Accepted
Once the settlement is accepted, both parties will go before a judge who will need to approve the settlement. The judge will make sure that the settlement is in your best interest and that you actually want to accept it. After that, the insurance company has fourteen days to provide you with your lump sum check.
If your case is relatively simple, you may be able to easily accept a settlement without contacting an attorney. However, insurance companies have been in the game longer than you and they only offer settlements that somehow benefit them as well. Because of this, it’s usually in your best interest to contact a St. Louis workers compensation attorney who can adequately weigh your claim against the settlement payment. Don’t be bullied into accepting a settlement you don’t feel comfortable with.
Contact a Work Comp Attorney
At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, our attorneys will work with you, regardless of where you are in the process. Attorney James M. Hoffmann has spent a majority of his more than 20 year legal career dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers.
Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.