When you settle your Carrollton, Georgia workers’ compensation claim, it is not the same thing as settling an auto accident claim or another personal injury claim. You won’t get a lump sum of compensation from a jury if you take the case to court in Carrollton. However, you can get the workers’ compensation insurance company to agree to a lump sum settlement in certain cases.
A Workers’ Compensation Claim Settlement is a Voluntary Agreement
The reason that you cannot get a lump sum settlement from a workers’ compensation insurance company by going to
court is because this kind of settlement has to be a voluntary agreement on both sides. Neither side can force the other to enter into such an agreement. The only way to reach this agreement is for both sides to decide that the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, the workers’ compensation insurance company will benefit by not having to pay any further medical or wage benefits that may be owed down the road. Meanwhile, you benefit from receiving a lump sum of cash, without having to worry about the workers’ compensation insurance company being involved in every decision you make about your injury.
The risk for the workers’ compensation insurance company is that they may end up giving you a settlement that is greater than what they would have paid for your regular benefits. The risk for you is that you may end up with a settlement that is not enough to cover everything that the benefits would have covered. Thus, it is a complex agreement that has to be weighed carefully on both sides of the workers’ compensation claim. The most important thing to understand is that neither of you can be forced to settle the claim in court. It has to be voluntary on your part, as you agree to the settlement in place of receiving usual benefits, and voluntary on the part of the insurance company, as they agree to the settlement in place of paying usual benefits.
Another Key Risk of Accepting a Settlement is That You Cannot Change Your Mind
You need to be fully aware that it is not an option to change your mind after you accept a workers’ compensation settlement. Once you agree to a settlement and receive that settlement, there is no way to go back and say that your expenses were greater than you expected.
When you agree to a settlement with the workers’ compensation insurance company, the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation will have to approve the agreement to settle, and then you cannot go back and change your mind, no matter whether or not your injuries ended up requiring more expenses than you thought or whether you find out later that you will never be able to return to your former employment or employment that provides the same income that you received before. There are many things that could happen to change your financial needs, but if you’ve accepted the settlement, none of that will matter.
It is essential to be well informed before accepting a settlement agreement. You need to have a good idea of the severity of your injuries, the potential for future medical procedures, and various other considerations that are going to be important in making this decision.
How to Be Well Informed Before Choosing to Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
To begin with, be aware that you do not have to settle your claim, right now. You can settle it at any point, as long as you and the workers’ compensation insurance company are in agreement. Once you understand this, you can take a little bit of time to consider the pros and cons.
The best way to do this is to talk to a Carrollton, Georgia workers’ compensation attorney, like those at the Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates. We’ll provide a free consultation to discuss your situation and your options. Then, we can provide representation and guidance in negotiating a settlement that is fair for your injuries, if a settlement is the direction that you want to go and that is best for your case. Following are some things to keep in mind:
- Medical Benefits: While you are injured and seeking treatment for injuries, you can receive medical benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance company. This will cover your expenses for doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, surgeries, medical devices, physical therapy, and any other medical requirements. If you continue to receive usual workers’ compensation medical benefits, you must see a physician who is approved by the insurance company and your employer. If you accept a settlement, you no longer have to use these approved physician for your medical care. You can see any doctor you prefer, but you will not get additional coverage for additional treatment, beyond what you accepted in your workers’ compensation settlement.
- Wage Benefits: When you are unable to return to work right away because of your injuries, you can receive wage benefits at 2/3 your Average Weekly Wage. If you receive a settlement, then you will no longer receive these wage benefits payments.
- Disability Benefits: When you choose not to accept a settlement, you can continue to receive benefits for the time period in which you are disabled. There are different forms of disability, including Temporary Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, Permanent Partial Disability, and Permanent Total Disability. Once you accept a settlement, you will no longer receive these benefits, so you need to make sure that you know what kind of disability you’re dealing with, how long you will receive benefits for, and whether or not your settlement will fairly cover the disability.
Contact the Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates to Compare Your Options
The Carrollton, Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates have handled many claims, just like yours, and we are happy to help you to compare your options and seek a fair settlement agreement. Call today for a free consultation.