If you were injured at work, a workers compensation settlement generally means that you receive some sort of lump sum payment. But what is the amount of that lump sum payment and how does the insurance company determine it?
This question is difficult. Before trying to answer it, you first need to do at least a couple of things.
- Determine if it is the right time to settle your case
- Understand how the settlement process will work
If you have done those things, you can probably try to make a determination of how much you should settle your case for.
What is the special formula for determining how much the insurance company has to pay me?
Should you settle for $10,000? $25,000? $50,000? $100,000? Unfortunately, there is not a special formula to provide an exact value for your Georgia workers’ compensation case.
Each workers compensation case is different. You cannot force the insurance company to pay you a certain amount of money because you had a certain type of injury.
If there is not a special formula, how can I figure out what my case is worth?
I determine settlement values in workers compensation cases by looking at the two options that my clients have. One option for my clients is to settle their case. The other option is not to settle.
Fortunately, the insurance company cannot force you to settle. That is the primary factor in your favor. You can choose just to keep your case open.
So, when I evaluate a case for one of my clients, I evaluate what will likely happen the case does not settle. To do that evaluation, there are a number of questions that need to be answered. Here are a few:
- What benefits will my client likely get in the future?
- What medical treatment is my client likely to get in the future?
- Is settlement going to be a good choice for my client?
- Is it better to keep the case open?
If your workers compensation case stays open, it will probably continue to cost the insurance company some money in the future. The cost of keeping your case open is often what motivates the insurance company to settle.
How do I evaluate my case?
To evaluate a case correctly, you need to understand all the rules about Georgia workers compensation benefits. You must know these rules to make a good prediction about what will happen to you if you keep your case open.
You also need to understand these workers compensation rules if you want to convince the insurance company that they should pay a fair amount to settle your case. These rules will determine what workers compensation benefits that the insurance company will have to pay in the future.
Georgia has a number of strange workers compensation rules. Some of the rules are more than strange. They are just plain unfair in my opinion. Here are a few examples:
- The rule that limits the insurance company’s responsibility for medical treatment to a maximum of 400 weeks in most cases
- The change to the panel of physicians that allows employers to have “associated doctors” on the panel
- The statute of limitations that bars you from getting further income benefits if you go two years without getting benefits
Unfortunately, you are going to have to deal with these unfair rules and others. You don’t have a choice if it is part of Georgia’s workers compensation law.
So, you need to understand these rules and how they will impact your case. Otherwise, you will not make a good decision about settlement.
What else should I think about when making a decision about settlement?
You need to take your time. Decisions about settlement are probably the most difficult decisions people have to make in their workers’ compensation cases. These decisions are final. You usually cannot go back and change them. If you want to know more about workers compensation settlements, this article I wrote discusses settlements in more detail.
Because it is important to know Georgia’s workers compensation rules before making a decision about settlement, my suggestion is to talk to an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation. This helps you find out what your options are so you can make the best decision for you.