Many workers’ compensation claims result in a final settlement that closes your claim altogether. After receiving a settlement, you will not be entitled to any further compensation or medical treatment for your work-related illness or injury, even if your condition worsens in the future. As a result, you may wish to consult legal counsel before you agree to accept any Columbia workers’ compensation settlements.
A personal injury lawyer can analyze your circumstances to determine the appropriateness of any settlement offer that you receive from the insurance company. By working with legal counsel, you may be able to get a fair settlement for the costs of your work-related illness or injury.
When considering workers’ compensation settlements in Columbia, individuals may want to evaluate them based on some or all the following factors:
Injured workers should understand that once they accept a settlement, they can obtain no further compensation, even if their condition worsens, they experience complications, or a new medical condition develops from the original illness or injury. Therefore, workers may want to consider their medical diagnosis before agreeing to any settlement amount. Otherwise, they risk incurring additional expenses for which they will receive no compensation.
Likewise, if an injured worker incurs additional medical expenses related to their illnesses or injuries, they cannot be sure that their health insurance carriers will cover the costs. The health insurance company may not be willing to pay for expenses that they believe the workers’ compensation insurance company should have paid.
If workers become permanently disabled as a result of their work-related illnesses or injuries, they may qualify for additional benefits programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Medicare or Medicaid benefits. It is important to discuss the impact a workers’ compensation claim may have on the ability to receive these benefits with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
Another potential issue is any personal injury claims that individuals may have against others as a result of the work-related injury and how the two settlements may affect one another. For instance, if workers are injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident, they may have a claim against another driver. Likewise, if a defective product in the workplace led to an injury, they may have a product liability claim against the product manufacturer.
Individuals are not required to accept the first settlement offer that they receive. For example, settlement offers often are based on the opinion of doctors chosen by the insurance company and the disability rating that they assign to the claim. If individuals feel that they need additional medical treatment or want to get a second opinion, they may choose to do this before agreeing to a settlement. However, it might be at their own expense.
Another option may be to negotiate a different settlement amount. Individuals may want to ensure that any settlement amount includes compensation for future medical expenses related to the injury or illness. Furthermore, if both parties agree, Administrative Law Judges can voice their opinions as to a settlement offer at a conference about the workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation process is not always quick or straightforward, even when you have suffered a disabling workplace injury or illness. As a result, you may need to rely on legal counsel for advice about your potential options in terms of reaching Columbia workers’ compensation settlements.
When you sustain a workplace injury or illness, you are entitled to coverage under the workers’ compensation program. Getting the full amount of compensation that you deserve can be critical to covering your medical expenses and accounting for any permanent impairments that you may suffer.