Workers compensation was created to provide medical treatment and lost wages to people who suffer injuries at work. The workers compensation system often does a good job providing those benefits in the short term.
Unfortunately, workers compensation is not a system that you want to have to deal with for the long term. People who suffer serious injuries at work often end up experiencing some of the following problems with the workers compensation system:
- Not being able to choose the medical specialist whom they want want to treat their injury
- The workers compensation insurance company refusing to approve recommended medical treatment so that they have to wait weeks or months to get the treatment they need
- Frustration with works compensation lost wages not keeping up with increases in the cost of living
Because of these problems and others, many people want to get out of the workers compensation system at some point. But, can you end a workers compensation case? If so, how do you do it?
Can you end your workers compensation case?
Yes. The primary way that a workers compensation case ends is through settlement. Settlement is an agreement you or your attorney reaches with the workers compensation insurance company. It involves the insurance company paying you a negotiated lump sum amount of money to end your case.
Settlement requires your agreement and the agreement of the workers compensation insurance company. Many people choose settlement as a way of getting out of the workers compensation system. It also provides the added benefit of paying you a lump sum amount of money at the same time.
In addition to requiring agreement with the workers compensation insurance company, Georgia workers compensation settlements require approval by the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. This means a judge at the State Board of Workers’ Compensation will have to review and sign off on the settlement paperwork. Without this approval, you cannot settle your case.
Should I settle my workers compensation case?
That is impossible for me to know without reviewing additional information. This decision depends a lot on what is going on in your case and what the insurance company is offering you to settle. These factors could make it a great or a terrible time to settle your case.
One thing is very important to understand – settlement is final. This means that it is almost impossible to go back and change it later once the settlement has been approved by the workers compensation judge.
That makes it very important that you understand all the risks and benefits of settlement. If you do not have a very good understanding, you are very likely to make a mistake when settling your case.
Are there other ways to end my workers compensation case?
Settlement is the only way to officially end your workers compensation case. But, there are other ways you could effectively end your case even though your case would technically remain open.
- Letting the statutes of limitation pass on your case – Statutes of limitation are deadlines that apply to the receipt of different benefits. If you wait too long and let all the statutes of limitation pass on your case, you could be barred from receiving any further workers compensation benefits
- Stop going to the doctor for treatment – if you are not going to your workers compensation doctor for treatment or testing, your case could effectively end. Also, if you start going to a nonapproved doctor to get treatment while your workers compensation case remains open, you could run into some significant problems with payment of those medical bills because of the rules associated with workers compensation medical payment
- Losing your case at a hearing – if a judge concludes that you did not get hurt at work, that would effectively end your workers compensation case unless you successfully appeal that decision
While these are all ways that your case could end, I am not sure why you would want to end your case in any of these ways. Settlement almost always seems like the better way to end your case because you are receiving a lump sum payment for giving up your case and getting out of the system.
How can I learn more about workers compensation settlements?
This detailed article that talks about settlements should be helpful to you. It provides a good overview of many of the questions that come up with regard to settlement.
However, every case is different. I recommend that everyone considering settling their workers compensation case speak with an attorney to get questions answered about the specific of their case. Having this conversation will drastically reduce the chance that you make a bad decision when trying to settle your case.