If you’ve been injured at work and your employer’s insurance company offers you a workers’ compensation settlement, don’t just take what you can get because you’re afraid you might not get a better deal. Here’s how you can make sure you’re getting a fair amount in relation to the extent of your injuries.
The Advantages of Accepting a Settlement
Sometimes accepting a settlement amount offered to you by an insurance company can be a good choice. In some cases, if you go to trial or proceed to a hearing in order to attempt to see what a judge feels is a fair amount of money to compensate you for your injuries, you might end up getting less than what your insurer was originally offering you.
In some jurisdictions you can only receive structured compensation payments if you go through the hearing process; this means that if your insurer is offering you the option of a lump sum all at once, other offers are permanently off the table as a result. In Las Vegas, this is typically called a vocational rehabilitation lump-sum payout.
Additionally, it can be a nerve-wracking experience waiting for the results of a hearing. The gears of justice might grind exceedingly small, but they also grind slowly; if you need cash from a compensation award immediately due to bills mounting up or to help pay for medical expenses, taking a settlement immediately instead of going through the trial process will make the release of funds happen much sooner.
Finally, you might actually be able to negotiate an even larger amount of compensation with an insurance company if you decide to waive your rights to future benefits that you might not ever end up using. If your doctor says that there’s a 10 percent chance that you might need surgery sometime in the future, you can ask your insurer for at least a portion of that related cost as part of your settlement. If you end up never having to have the surgery, you get to keep that extra money – it’s not like you’ll have to give it back.
When a Settlement Might be a Bad Idea
Of course it’s sometimes not such a good idea to settle your workers’ compensation claim up front. In the majority of states, you can waive your right to have medical treatment in the future for your injury; if the chances are high that you’re going to need an expensive surgery or other such treatments, it might not be such a good idea to give up your right to treatment in exchange for an increased compensation award. If your own health insurance chooses to give you problems when it comes to covering this treatment down the line and you have waived your rights, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket – and that might not be a possibility if that settlement award you received from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer isn’t sufficient to foot the bill.