Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | July 3, 2018
Workers’ compensation laws generally encourage insurance companies to reach settlement agreements with injured workers when possible. Settling a case can mean that you get money to cover your medical expenses and lost income without needing to bring everyone in for a workers’ compensation hearing. Reaching a settlement agreement also takes away some of the uncertainty of a claim, as you know the amount of benefits to which you are agreeing.
When you sign a settlement agreement, you may either receive a structured settlement over time or a lump sum. If you receive a lump sum, be sure to save enough money to pay for your medical treatment if it is still ongoing. You cannot file another claim from the same workplace accident once you settle, so it is always a good idea to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney review a settlement offer before you sign it.
After you have discussed a settlement with your attorney and have reached an agreement you can live with, you must submit the agreement and other documents to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Some documents you need include:
The stipulated settlement agreement
- Your initial injury report and claim forms
- All medical records that explain the type of injury you suffered
- Forms showing whether you have unpaid child support
- Any fee agreements you signed with your attorney.
The Board must approve the agreement for it to become final. You can change your mind about the settlement up until the date the Board approves the agreement. Once the Board approves it, however, you cannot go back and request more at a later date. You need to have a lawyer calculating your losses to ensure you do not agree to a settlement that is lower than you deserve.
How much you can settle for will depend directly on the nature of your injuries and losses. When you receive your settlement check, certain amounts may be deducted to cover one or more of the following:
- Medical bills you have not paid
- A Medicare set-aside account
- Unpaid child support
- Lawyer fees and costs
However, even after deductions from a settlement, many people are left with enough benefits to cover their losses so that their workplace injury does not destroy their financial situation. If this is the case regarding your claim, it may likely be in your best interests to sign the agreement. You always want to discuss your particular situation with a lawyer before you sign, though.
Contact Our Savannah Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Hasner Law PC for More Information
It can be a difficult decision whether to settle your workers’ compensation claim or not. This is a case-by-case determination, as one person may receive a fair settlement while others may not. You need a lawyer on your side who can review settlements and advise you of your options to keep negotiating or accept the settlement.