Workers’ compensation is supposed to provide you with medical treatment coverage, disability pay, and other related benefits after an on-the-job injury. Only, things don’t always go this way for a few reasons. The insurance company might put up a fight or, more commonly, they might offer you a lump-sum settlement instead of guaranteed weekly benefits. Is it a good idea to settle your workers’ compensation claim instead of just getting benefits as you might have first expected?
It can be a bad idea to accept a lump-sum settlement if you aren’t aware of the extent of your injuries or your possible benefits. Before you sign any agreement to a settlement, you should speak with a local workers’ compensation attorney.
Your Maximum Medical Improvement Matters
After suffering an injury, your treating physician will monitor your health and recovery for signs of improvement and areas where more improvements could feasibly be made. When you are no longer expected to keep healing or improving, even if you had infinite time and medical technology at your disposal, you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI).
It is important to not accept a lump-sum workers’ comp settlement until your treating physician says you have reached your MMI. You should probably even get a second opinion from a separate doctor if your case allows it. If you take a settlement before your reach your MMI, then you could find out – possibly years later – that it has run out before your necessary medical care has ended.
Other Issues with Settling a Workers’ Comp Claim
Two other potential problems to consider before you settle your workers’ comp claim are:
- No pain and suffering: Workers’ compensation settlements will not typically include any damages related to your pain and suffering. If you were thinking you could get a good amount for your pain and other non-economic damages, then you might be sorely disappointed and end up with a much smaller settlement than expected.
- Finalized claim: When you accept a settlement, your claim is finalized and closed for good. You can’t reopen the case later if you think something is wrong. On the other hand, if you don’t get a settlement and instead get regular benefits, then you will usually be afforded a few years after receiving your final benefit to request the case is reopened. For example, if new injuries develop from your original injury, then you could try to get the case reopened and further benefits given to you.
Is There a Benefit to Settling a Claim?
A few benefits of settling a workers’ compensation claim include:
- You are free to see a doctor of your choice after your case settles in case you lived in a state where this was not an option as long as the case was open.
- You might be able to receive the lump-sum settlement tax-free, potentially netting you more finances overall than had you gained the benefits across several years, each with tax implications.
- You can use any settlement money not designated to be paid to a medical provider or another party, possibly through a lien, however you like.
Should You Settle Your Case?
Ultimately, the decision to settle your workers’ compensation claim is one you should only make after speaking with a workers’ compensation attorney about all of your options. If you live in Chicago, then you can choose Leonard Law Group to be your legal guide. We are known throughout Cook County for showing your clients respect and compassion, as well as for our significant case results. To date, we’ve secured more than $750,000,000 for our clients, most of whom were workers’ compensation clients.Want to see how we can help you after an on-the-job accident in Chicago? Contact our firm online today.