For anyone who has filed a workers’ compensation claim that needed the help and guidance of an attorney will be understandably excited when a settlement is offered. You will probably feel urged to accept the settlement immediately, just to get some money in your bank account after going through so much without knowing if you would get any. Rushing ahead and accepting any settlement amount can be a big problem, though. The insurance company could lowball their offer to try to trick you into accepting more than you need and deserve. To make sure you are getting a fair workers’ comp settlement offer, you should always coordinate with your attorney and ask more questions before signing anything.
Ask these five questions about a workers’ comp settlement before accepting it:
- Will I get further financial benefits later?
You can be provided a settlement in a lump sum amount that pays everything to you upfront. You can also be given a settlement that comes in payment installments. However, you need to also be aware of financial compensation you will need later based on your future medical treatments and disabilities. Many initial settlement offers will make no mention of the financial hardships you will experience later because of your work injury, but they should.
- Do I have to give some of my settlement to someone else?
Your settlement offer should be clear about whether or not you still need to pay medical providers for your treatments. Sometimes a settlement seems smaller than you might expect because the insurance company agrees to pay your medical providers directly. If this is the case, there should be a clause in the settlement offer or adjacent legal paperwork that makes that note.
- Will the settlement process take a while?
Insurance companies are infamous for taking as long as legally possible to handle a workers’ compensation settlement. However, insurance defense law firms are generally more receptive to move the claim along and close it to get it off their desks. With this in mind, it could be a few weeks to get a response from the defense law firm after your own workers’ compensation attorney reaches out. When the settlement is finalized and signed, it could take another month for the check to be written and mailed to you.
- Should I reject the offer to fight for more?
It makes sense to always want more than what you are offered because you never know what sort of damages you will experience in the future because of your work-related injury. However, you should not make this decision on your own. Always discuss your options with your attorney. Using their experience, they can read between the lines to see if putting up a fight would be worth it or if it would just risk losing a fair settlement offer.
- Will a judge review your settlement offer?
In some states, a workers’ compensation judge will need to approve any settlement offer before it is finalized. The court can reject a settlement, but this is quite rare. As long as you had your settlement offer drafted or approved by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, it should be legally sound enough to be accepted by a judge, too.
McHargue & Jones, LLC in Chicago represents injured workers throughout Illinois and from all industries. If you want to fight for a fair settlement amount after getting hurt at work, then please give us a call at (312) 487-2461. We are always excited to hear from new clients to see if we can help them reach a more comfortable tomorrow through a successful settlement or verdict.