Workers’ compensation is one of those benefits that’s never top of mind until you need it. It may seem fairly straight forward. You get injured on the job so you get paid. But what if you can never return to your job? What if your position is filled? What if the employer shuts down? What if there is a challenge to your benefits? Sometimes, injured workers find it beneficial to give up their right to ongoing benefits in exchange for a lump sum settlement. But what is your case worth? How is it valued? Below is a list of the top five factors that determine the value of a workers’ compensation settlement.
The amount you are receiving or should be receiving.
Your average weekly wage and corresponding workers’ compensation rate are the biggest factors when evaluating a claim. It is critical that this figure is properly calculated. This is the first thing a workers’ compensation lawyer does when evaluating a claim.
The type of injury.
Obviously, the more serious the injury, the higher the value but, what is more important is the extent that the injury stops you from doing your work. If the injury stops you from returning to the same work you did before the injury, then the case is valued higher.
The status of your case.
If there is no current challenge to your entitlement to benefits, then your case has a higher value than if there is a pending petition to reduce or cut off your benefits. Even if a petition has not been filed but the insurance company has the necessary components (an independent medical report or a vocational report), it can reduce the value of the claim.
The extent of your current and future medical treatment.
The insurance company is paying for your medical care now and in the future. If they believe that the costs are significant and are going to continue into the future, they will put more money on the table. It is important that your bills are properly submitted to the insurance company rather than your healthcare insurance company.
Your willingness to risk your benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits are temporary in that they are always subject to challenge for the duration of the claim. If you lose a petition to cut off or reduce your benefits, the value to your case is reduced or eliminated. You need to understand that your benefits are always under threat. If there is an active challenge to your benefits, settlement is the only way to control the eventual outcome.
Workers’ compensation cases can get complicated and each case is unique. Only you and a Certified Workers’ Compensation attorney, whose main area of expertise is workers’ compensation cases, can really determine the value of your case. Call me for a free consultation.