How Does a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Work?
Workplace accidents can be devastating, life-altering events that can impact not only you, but your family as well. Fortunately, you are likely covered by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance program, which entitles you to financial assistance and medical care related to your work injury.
Most employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million workers are injured per year, costing companies nearly $62 billion for lost-time workplace injuries.
Any workplace accident needs to be reported to management immediately, and the employer is required to begin a report and investigate the circumstances that caused the accident. Seek medical attention, even if you think the injury is minor. Some complications may not appear until later, and if you fail to be evaluated by a medical professional, you risk losing benefits.
Following the accident, you or your employer will file a Workers’ Compensation claim with the insurance carrier. The claim is a request for benefits you are entitled to and not a lawsuit against your employer. In determining whether to approve or deny your claim, the insurance carrier may investigate the circumstances of your accident and will review medical records as well. You may be required to participate in the investigation and possibly required to submit documentation to the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation office.
Not all Workers’ Compensation cases end with a settlement. If the injuries are minor, there are no further medical costs, and the employee is able to return to work, then the claim is closed. However, if the injuries result in long-term or permanent disabilities, the carrier will offer a settlement based on specific payout calculations that include estimated future medical costs and lost wages, plus a specific amount based on your injury itself.
Worker’s Compensation settlements are paid one of two ways, either a one-time lump-sum payout or on a structured scale, meaning you will receive regular payments over a designated period of time. In determining your final settlement, the insurance carrier will review your medical condition, wages, and state laws pertaining to your claim. They will specifically be assessing your level of impairment, as determined by a doctor, to calculate the monetary value of your settlement.
Benefits might include:
- Permanent total disability: Injuries are severe enough that no future work will be possible in any capacity.
- Permanent partial disability: For workers with a partial long-term disability that prevents performing certain types, but not all, of jobs.
- Temporary total disability: Injuries initially prevent returning to work but expected to recover fully.
- Medical benefits: Workers’ compensation pays for current and future medical costs related to the injury.
- Death and burial benefits: If the injured dies within four years of the accident, the deceased’s dependents may receive compensation.
A portion of the settlement offer will be based on the state’s defined rate for specific loss. For example, the loss of a limb would likely have a higher payout rate than a broken leg or knee injury. Each state has its own scale.
Do I Have to Accept the Settlement Offer?
If you do not think the insurance carrier’s settlement offer is sufficient, do not accept it until you seek legal counsel. If you accept, you cannot seek any further compensation should you have injury-related future medical bills or expenses. Acceptance is final.
To ensure you are getting the full compensation for your injuries, work with a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer from the beginning of your claim. An experienced lawyer will calculate what you are entitled to based on your injuries, disability, future medical costs, loss of wages, and other financial assistance.
Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Workers Who Are Considering Workers’ Compensation Settlements
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, one of our experienced Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help. We can determine if a settlement is the right path for you. Call us at 732-537-8570 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.