If you have been injured at work, you might be ready for a settlement. Settlements consist of lump-sum payments and other benefits. By the time a good settlement offer comes along, you might be more than ready to be finished with the ordeal. Before you agree to a settlement, though, there are things to do. Read on to find out what needs your attention so you won't settle for less than you are owed.
Get a Lawyer on Your Side
Once you are at the settlement stage of the process, you probably already know how complex workers' compensation can be. In most cases, hurt workers are covered for medical needs and receive a partial paycheck each week. Some hurt workers end up being unable to return to their previous position and that can mean a settlement offer. As soon as you know a settlement is in the works, seek legal advice from a workers' compensation lawyer. They know how much you are supposed to receive, how to estimate what you'll need in the future, the best way to be paid your settlement, and how to negotiate to get the most possible.
Understand What You Are Entitled to Receive
When a worker is hurt badly enough to affect their income for life, it's about so much more than a lump-sum payment. Some workers can gain rehabilitation benefits from either the workers' compensation carrier or from their state or federal government. Be sure you discuss how these benefits will mesh — or interfere — with other benefits before you accept the settlement. For example, the way you get your lump-sum payment could negatively affect any Social Security benefits you might be eligible for. You might also be eligible for job retraining and help locating a suitable job.
Follow the Rules
The workers' compensation insurer is not going to hold your hand. They are a for-profit private company that dislikes having to pay hurt workers for their losses. What that translates to for the hurt worker is that strict attention to correspondence, requests, and deadlines are vital. Call your lawyer whenever you get requests for more information or anything else and don't miss appeal meeting deadlines. For example, many hurt workers have to participate in mediation before they can settle a case. You will be attending hearings and mediation appointments with your workers' comp lawyer in tow and they will prepare you for what to expect.
For other tips on making sure your settlement process is easy and successful, speak to a workers' compensation lawyer.