You should definitely consider how you feel. I tell all of my clients the most important part of their claim is their health. If a doctor thinks you need treatment and the insurance company is providing that treatment, we want to make sure that it’s working and that the type of care you’re getting is making you better. If it is, then you may want to continue to treat as long as the doctor says it’s necessary. If the treatment is not working, then we have a discussion to see what’s in your best interest.
Before settling, it’s critical that you’ve received any and all recommended diagnostic studies and tests, including x-rays for a broken bone, MRIs, nerve tests, or EKGs or EMGs for your heart, to know what’s actually going on inside of your body. A settlement can seem good until you discover that your injuries are much worse than you thought after receiving the results from further testing.
The other consideration is the final percentage for your injuries given by a neutral doctor and the doctor’s opinion on the type of future medical care you may need. The combination of the percentage and your future medical care needs are ultimately going to determine the amount of money you receive for your injury.
To summarize, the three biggest factors in determining whether you should settle are how you feel, what diagnostic tests reveal, and the final report of the neutral doctor.
Could A Workers’ Compensation Settlement Or Benefits Impact Other Benefits Someone Is Already Receiving?
If you’re on Social Security retirement or disability, Medicare or Medical, or any other public benefits a worker’s compensation settlement can affect these benefits. When someone is on some type of public benefits, then we have to explore what can be done, if anything, to keep them on the benefits or to reduce the negative effect a settlement can have on those benefits.
What Is A Lump Sum Settlement In A Workers’ Comp Case? Is There An Advantage To Taking A Lump Sum Versus Weekly Benefits?
A lump sum settlement is when the insurance company gives you all the money for your injuries, plus a negotiated amount to cover your future medical care for those injuries at one time. The advantage of a lump sum settlement is that you have all the money upfront. If you didn’t like the medical treatment you were receiving under the workers’ compensation system, you are now be able to get treatment through private insurance. You may be able to receive treatments that workers’ compensation doesn’t offer. Workers’ comp medical treatments can be archaic. Workers’ comp treatments for physical injuries are usually limited to chiropractic care, acupuncture, basic physical therapy (like we were doing back in the 70s and 80s), injections, and surgery. For many people, these limited treatments do absolutely nothing and the injury may not be serious enough for a surgery.
I had a client who was told he’d have to get back surgery after completing physical therapy, acupuncture and receiving injections in his back. He didn’t trust having back surgery performed by a doctor that was part of the insurance company’s medical network. In 2016 we negotiated a lump sum settlement. After settling his case he purchased his own health insurance and started a physical therapy program recommended by his private doctor. Over four years after settling his case, he still has not needed the surgery.
One thing to consider with the lump sum buyout: if you accept the lump sum and have some kind of surgical procedure done that doesn’t go right, you can’t go back to the workers’ compensation system and get any additional recovery.
Another thing to consider is that most lump sums include a condition (which has been found legal in California) that you will sign a resignation or some type of mutual termination agreement and agree not to seek employment with the company again.
The advantages to taking payments over weeks is that, if you have a job that you really like, you can continue to work there. Plus, you’re going to get two extra checks every month to help supplement your income for a certain period of time. You are also entitled to medical treatment through workers’ compensation for life if you accept the payments over a period of time.
Also, if you were to get a surgery through workers’ compensation and it didn’t go well (which could have nothing to do with the doctors; work injuries sometimes require complicated procedures), they would be obligated to give you another surgery or you could decide to negotiate a lump sum at that point.
For more information on Workers’ Compensation Cases in California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (866) 967-8691 today.
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