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Why Settling a Workers’ Comp Claim May Reduce What You Get

You don’t go to work in the morning expecting to get hurt, as most days on the job are totally uneventful. However, you never know when a piece of machinery might malfunction or when a co-worker might make a mistake that leads to you getting hurt. Your doctor could also diagnose you with a work-related medical condition when you seek their advice about concerning symptoms.

The good news is that employers typically have to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect against the liability that comes from having employees. State law requires insurance coverage, and then businesses don’t have to directly cover the cost of worker injuries because workers’ compensation will provide benefits.

There are medical coverage benefits that can pay for all of someone’s treatment and also disability benefits that help replace lost wages when someone can no longer work or has to take a leave of absence for treatments. Workers may sometimes receive a settlement offer for a one-time, lump-sum payment. Accepting a settlement could be a risk for someone with a serious work-related medical issue.

What’s the risk involved in a settlement?

The biggest issue with the settlement is that it limits how much compensation you might receive. In theory, the medical benefits for workers’ compensation could continue to cover certain care costs, like pain management or symptom control for future flare-ups, for the rest of your life.

If you settle your claim, you won’t qualify for future coverage even if you have to take another lengthy leave of absence from work or require another surgery. The insurance company will likely propose terms that would benefit the business by limiting its liability as opposed to benefiting you by fully covering your expenses.

You may need to counter a settlement offer

If a lump-sum settlement seems to be the best option for your workers’ compensation benefits claim, you could potentially negotiate a more appropriate settlement. Although individuals often struggle to effectively negotiate, bringing in professional help might mean that you settle for a much more reasonable amount that will cover the costs you have related to time off of work and healthcare needs.

Understanding what might be possible in a workers’ compensation claim can help you make a better decision when analyzing a settlement offer.