Should I Settle my Workers Compensation Case after my Work Injury?
Minnesota Work Injury Attorney | Workers Compensation Settlements
After a work-related injury, there may come a time when either the insurance or yourself wants to be done with your workers’ compensation case. In this situation, a settlement could be reached whereby certain benefits are settled or closed out in exchange for a cash settlement or payment of certain benefits. The decision to settle can never be an easy decision to make. Many different factors need to be weighed into your decision. It is imperative that all of your options have been discussed so that an informed decision can be made. When asking, “Should I settle my workers’ compensation case”, you should consider the following.
Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Benefits Could be Payable for the Rest of Your Life
Unlike a personal injury or civil case, workers’ compensation benefits can be ongoing for the rest of your life. Now, not all benefits are payable on an ongoing basis as there are caps and limits to certain types of benefits. For more information on benefits available under Minnesota workers’ compensation, take look at the four types of workers’ compensation benefits. However, benefits such as medical expenses will continue to be paid for the rest of your life so long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to your injury. Additionally, wage loss benefits such as permanent total disability (PTD) can be paid until the age of 67 or even longer in certain situations.
What are Your Available Workers Compensation Benefits and the Likelihood You Will Need Them in the Future?
In first evaluating whether a settlement is reasonable or whether you should even consider settlement, you first need to keep in mind what benefits are available to you. In other words, ask yourself if I settle my workers compensation case, what is it worth? Once you know that you can then assess whether you will be needing those benefits in the future.
Workers’ compensation in Minnesota pays for only four types of benefits: wage loss, permanent partial disability, vocational rehabilitation, and medical expenses. Workers’ compensation does not offer pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, 401k, pension or even punitive damages. Consequently, a comparable case in a non-work-related accident that would be brought in civil court would not have the same value as a workers’ compensation case. Primarily, there are a different set of rules and benefits that are available. Therefore, it is important to know what your past, present and potential future benefits may be so that you can make an informative decision about settlement.
Whether it is life insurance, health insurance, auto insurance, etc, there is always a reason why you keep around – because you may need it. The same is true with workers’ compensation insurance coverage for your injury. Again, unlike personal injury cases, your worker’ compensation case could be open for the rest of your life. It is important to recognize what you may be giving up if you settle your case.
Expert Opinions Supporting Your Case
Another factor to consider is what type of support do you have for your case. In other words, what are your doctors, physicians, medical professionals saying about your case? Are the doctors saying that you are as good as you are going to get or are they saying that you may need future surgery? Are you back to work at full wages or is it unclear as to whether you will need to be retrained to get back to work? There are a lot of different questions that need to be asked and taken into account by doctors, physicians, and even QRCs to determine whether or not the settlement is right for you.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Settlements
You also need to decide on what type of settlement you want. Quite often, the insurance companies want to pay a sum of money in order for you to “go away” completely. At times, this could even include future medical benefits. As a result, it is important to weigh your options as to whether a settlement on a “to-date” basis versus a settlement that will pay you more money but may close out any and all benefits in the future. Again, not every settlement is right for one type of case. You should consider all of your options fully. Take a look at the article – Types of Workers Compensation Settlements
Other Factors to Consider
Additionally, there may be other factors to consider when settling your case including:
- Will my health insurance cover my future medical expenses?
- Will I have to resign from my job?
- Will I be able to afford future medical or wage loss?
- Will my medical bills be taken care of?
- Will I be able to find another job?
- Will I continue to have to fight for workers’ compensation even after a settlement?
Every case is different but it is important to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when deciding to settle your case.
How Much Should We Ask for When We Make an Offer?
Lastly, a decision needs to be made about what you request to be paid and what final number you are willing to walk away with. In discussing the money associated with settlement, all of the above factors need to be taken into account and weighed to make an appropriate determination as to the appropriate settlement. Other factors may be weighed
Recently, the Department of Labor and Industry performed a survey of injured workers after they had gone to trial or settled their case. Less than 20% felt that they had improved, while 35%-45% felt that there was no change, and 40%-45% felt that they had gotten worse after they finished their case.Get Your Free Case Evaluation Today
Overall, the best piece of advice for you is to make an informed decision by asking questions and trusting the professionals you work with. It is extremely important that if you are working with a lawyer, that you are working with one who is experienced and knowledgeable in the area of workers’ compensation who can appropriately guide you and provide you with good and honest advice. Jerry practices in workers’ compensation and has been doing so for over 15 years. If you wish to discuss your case, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation to evaluate your case.