One of the most common questions that arises when discussing benefits for employees who sustain on-the-job injuries is the average length of a workers’ compensation claim in Columbia. The length of injured workers’ claims depends on a variety of factors, including the type of benefits they are seeking, the amenability of the workers’ compensation carrier to pay out benefits, and the duration of medical care. If you were severely injured at work and are interested in filing a claim for benefits, you should consult with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
The type and severity of the injuries workers sustain can impact how long it takes them to receive certain disability benefits and settle their case. Common work-related injuries that may require temporary or permanent disability benefits include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, or loss of a limb. Workers’ compensation can also apply for individuals who develop an illness due to occupational dangers.
Initially, the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier can pay for the cost of the injured individual’s medical treatment. The worker may also be able to file for temporary partial or temporary total disability benefits if an injury prevents that worker from working for an interim period.
However, workers who suffer grave injuries are usually only entitled to receive permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits once they reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI means that the individual has recovered from an injury or illness to the greatest extent possible, and further treatment will not remedy their condition. The time it takes to reach this point varies by person and will ultimately affect the timeline of a person’s workers’ compensation claim.
It will be up to the worker’s doctor to determine once the individual has reached MMI and whether he or she classifies as having a permanent partial or permanent total disability.
A person who has a permanent partial disability has an irreparable disability that hinders him or her from completing specific types of work, but does not block them from working entirely. On the other hand, a permanent total disability means that the individual’s injury or illness prevents work of any kind. Both permanent partial and permanent total disability benefits can be paid in a single payment or weekly, but a person receiving total disability may be entitled to benefits for the rest of their life.
Negotiating a claim for disability benefits in a workers’ compensation claim can take some time, especially if the insurance company is hesitant to settle or tries to pay the worker less than they are owed. Workers’ compensation claims can take anywhere from months to a year or longer to resolve.
Another critical factor affecting the length of a Columbia workers’ compensation claim is whether the case can be settled with the insurer or goes to trial. It may be necessary to take a workers’ compensation claim to court if the injured individual’s company will not pay the full benefits owed or denies their claim altogether. Cases that go to trial typically take longer to settle, prolonging the timeline of a worker’s compensation claim.
The length of a workers’ compensation claim in Columbia depends mainly on the facts of the specific case. Some cases may settle relatively quickly, while others could take up to a year and a half to resolve. From negotiating for maximum benefits with the insurance carrier to advocating your case before a judge, you should have a competent lawyer handling your case who could help you through each stage of the worker’s compensation process. For more information about hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer to handle your situation, call the office today and book a consultation.