When to consider settling your workers compensation case
Workers’ compensation benefits come in a few different forms. For example, some injured employees structure their claim in such a way that they receive weekly funds and coverage for medical care while others negotiate for a flat settlement. If you’re wondering which strategy makes the most financial sense for your particular situation, an attorney from Carey & Hamner, P.C., can help you decide.
When to Retain Weekly Benefits
If your doctor determines you will be unable to return to work for a while and the insurer’s physician arrives at the same conclusion, it might be wise to retain your weekly benefits. These benefits are predictable, and there will be no question as to whether your medical bills will be covered while you are recovering.
When to Seek a Settlement
If your injuries are healing relatively quickly and the insurer’s physician has determined that you should be able to return to work shortly, your weekly benefits will more than likely be terminated once the doctor determines you have reached maximum medical improvement or MMI. This does not necessarily mean that you are healed, but is simply the doctor’s opinion that he or she has done all that can be done to improve your condition. Unless your own doctor has extensive evidence to refute the opposing party’s expert opinion, it might be wise to seek a settlement when the company doctor determines you have reached maximum improvement. The doctor should indicate if you have any permanent restrictions or impairment. Workers Compensation settlements are based on the extent of permanent impairment and restrictions. If you are unable to return to work due to these restrictions, you may also be entitled to compensation for the loss of your job.
If you are concerned about losing medical benefits after negotiating for a settlement, you can take comfort in the fact that Alabama law presumes injured workers will continue receiving coverage for health care expenses even after a settlement has been reached. For this reason, many employers offer an additional sum to waive their obligation to cover future medical bills. This is allowed as long as the settlement agreement contains clear and concise language detailing the benefits lapse.
In the state of Alabama, workers and their employers can rely on free mediation services when negotiating for a settlement in a disputed workers’ compensation case; however, it’s still wise to hire your own lawyer to ensure your best interests remain a priority during every stage of the proceedings.
If you were hurt on the job and want to negotiate for a workers’ compensation settlement, turn to Carey & Hamner, P.C., for quality legal counsel. Based in Dothan, AL, they are proud to serve accident victims throughout the surrounding areas, including those in Enterprise and Ozark. Call (334) 699-4444 to schedule your free consultation.