Should I Accept a Workers’ Comp Settlement Offer?
If you’ve been receiving workers’ compensation benefits for some time, you may have started to get settlement offers from your workers’ compensation insurance provider. This is fairly common, as insurance companies would often rather pay out one lump sum and close out a claim than continue to pay weekly for months or even years. However, you have to make sure that any settlement being offered to you is worth considering.
Remember, the insurance company is still on their own side. You can bet that any settlement offered to you definitely benefits them in one way or another, so you need to make sure it’s equally beneficial to you.
Not sure what to think about a settlement offer from your workers’ comp provider? We’re here to help. Call Whibbs Stone Barnett at 850-434-5395 to schedule a time to talk.
Have You Reached Maximum Medical Improvement?
First, find out whether or not you have reached maximum medical improvement. This is a conversation to have with the physician overseeing your workers’ comp care. Maximum medical improvement may mean a full recovery from your injury, but if you will never heal completely from your injury, MMI is simply the most you can be expected to recover.
If you have not yet reached MMI, it’s not recommended that you accept a settlement offer from workers’ comp. You could still be weeks or months away from MMI, and you have no idea what your limitations will be at that point.
What You Would Receive Without a Lump Sum Settlement
You can also run some quick calculations to see what you would receive on workers’ comp without accepting a lump sum settlement. The amount offered in the settlement should be comparable to what you would receive for the remainder of your workers’ comp time.
Along the same lines, if you have an ongoing court case regarding your workers’ compensation claim, consider what you stand to gain if you go to court. There’s a chance that you will lose, but there’s also a chance that you could win much more. The amount they offer in a settlement should consider the likelihood of you winning a court case. A lot of insurance companies will offer the bare minimum and assume that you would win nothing, a move that once again benefits them.
Consider Whether Your Disability is Permanent or Temporary
If you qualify for permanent and total disability benefits, look into how that would affect your lifetime earnings for workers’ compensation. Again, be careful to avoid settlement offers that are significantly lower than what you would receive if you stayed with your current agreement. This is a sign of a settlement that unfairly benefits the insurance company while ignoring what you deserve after a workplace injury.
Your Future Medical Expenses
If you have reached maximum medical improvement, it’s likely that you don’t anticipate any future medical expenses related to your workplace injury. However, if your MMI does not reflect a full recovery, you may have some lingering health issues that will require ongoing care. If this describes your situation, ensure that your settlement allows for future healthcare needs. If you are permanently disabled by your workplace injury, you deserve to have your future needs taken care of.
How Your Settlement May Affect Your Other Benefits
If you receive SSDI payments or other disability benefits, receiving a lump sump payment could make it hard for you to continue receiving your government benefits. Discuss this with your attorney to see what your options are.
Peace of Mind and Closure
At some point, it may be worth it to you to accept a settlement just so you no longer have to battle with the insurance company. A lump sum settlement allows both of you to move on and stop ongoing communication. It also eliminates the risk of your payments being stopped unexpectedly in the future, leaving you in dire financial straits.
Explore Your Options with Whibbs Stone Barnett
When you’ve been offered a workers’ comp settlement, there’s a lot to consider and evaluate. It’s important to think about the multitude of ways a settlement could change your life and your financial status. Set up a consultation with our team now by calling us at 850-434-5395 or contacting us online.