You are entitled to weekly income benefits if you have more than seven days of lost time due to an injury. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work. If you are out more than 21 consecutive days due to your injury, you will be paid for the first week.
There is no jury in a workers’ compensation case, and no payment for pain and suffering. The Judge at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation cannot issue a money award concluding the case. The insurance company decides whether you are paid a lump sum or continue paying for your medical care to keep your case open indefinitely, even though you are not receiving any benefits.
Insurance companies agree to a lump sum settlement because they do not want open cases of potential future liability. I try to settle cases early when the insurance company does not know exactly what they might have to pay out in the future. For example how much longer you will be out on temporary total disability and continue to receive wage benefits, or how extensive or expensive will be your future medical care, or if your case will be deemed “catastrophic”. Remember you also are not sure of the future so you do not want to settle for too little.
When I settle a case I put $ amounts on each of the unknowns to get an offer that you might be willing to accept. Also a settlement on an admitted claim would be higher than one where the insurance company contests liability and denies that you are injured, or denies that your injury is work related.
If your injury is denied we can ask a judge to decide if it is related, or we can try to settle for a lump sum to end the case. If we can prove that your case is “catastrophic” which is a legal term under workers’ compensation law, then your settlement will be much bigger since the insurance company may have to pay benefits for a much longer time with no cap on the number or weeks.
FACTORS THAT HURT SETTLEMENT VALUE
The insurance company has “surveillance video” of you performing some activity inconsistent with your claimed injury.
You have been released to full duty work
You have advised the doctor that you do not intend to have any more surgery.
Your age will effect the amount of the settlement. An injury that prevents someone from choosing the type of work they want to do will impact a younger person for a longer period of time than a person near retirement age.
No two cases are alike. Each case has its own criteria for settlement. You cannot go by someone else’s settlement.
Waiting can reduce the uncertainly factor and reduce the settlement value. FILE A CLAIM