Many people find it frustrating and confusing to deal with workers compensation. Because you were doing your job, you find yourself dealing with an injury that causes you pain and makes it difficult to go back to work. Often, it seems like the insurance company fights about paying for anything.
Settlement of your workers compensation case can be a potential solution to get out of the workers compensation system and move on. You have probably heard about settlement of a case, but a lot of people do not have a full understanding of what settlement means.
When it comes to your workers compensation case, you need to make good decisions. The injury you have suffered may affect you for the rest of your life. If you make a bad decision about resolving your case through settlement, you will have to live with that decision in the future.
What is a workers compensation settlement?
In Georgia, settlement is a way to close out your workers compensation case. It is an agreement between you and the insurance company.
Generally, your workers compensation attorney will make recommendations to you about whether you should settle your case and what you should settle for. Once you decide what you would accept in settlement, your attorney would negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
If the insurance company makes an offer that you decide to accept, some settlement documents would be drawn up and signed. In Georgia, a judge at the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has to approve all settlement. This article I wrote discusses the process that happens from when you agree on a settlement with the insurance company until the settlement is actually paid.
Do I have to settle my Georgia workers compensation case?
Now settlement’s not anything that you ever have to do. It’s important to understand that the insurance company can’t make you settle, a workers’ compensation judge can’t make you settle. Your attorney shouldn’t make you settle. Settlement’s something that’s completely voluntary and up to you. And you’re the final decision maker about that.
Do I have to have an attorney to settle my Georgia workers compensation case?
But I am going to talk to you about if you’re going to consider settlement how do you make sure that you get a fair workers’ compensation settlement? In order to look at that question, you really need to understand how most insurance companies look at settlement of workers’ compensation cases. To the insurance company, settlement’s a business decision. Most insurance companies are businesses that are in business to make money. And your workers’ compensation case is costing the insurance company money. So just like you don’t have to settle, the insurance company does not have to settle either. In Georgia workers’ compensation cases, there’s no way that you can go to court and force the insurance company to settle for a certain amount of money. So any settlement’s going to be a negotiation and the question is how do you get the insurance company to agree to pay you the most money in the settlement?
Well, again, the insurance company’s making a business decision and they’re comparing their option of settling to what happens if they don’t settle your case and they just leave your case open. What’s that going to cost them? So in order to make sure that you receive a fair settlement on a workers’ compensation case, you really need to convince the insurance company that your case is going to cost a lot of money if it stays open. Because that’s what’s going to convince them that they should pay more money in settlement rather than just leaving your case open and not settling with you.
Now, convincing the insurance company of that can be difficult. You’re going to have to understand Georgia workers’ compensation law. You’re going to have to understand all the benefits that are available and what treatment’s going to cost in the future, what future benefits from being out of work are worth, whether your case could possibly qualify for a catastrophic designation or not, the limits that are available in Georgia workers’ compensation law and the exception to those limits. So you generally want to have a good understanding of those or have an attorney that represents you who has a very good understanding of those in order to make sure the insurance company is fair with you on settlement.
Because the insurance company’s a business, they’re probably going to want to settle your case for as little as possible. So even if they were willing to pay up to a certain amount of money to settle, if they can convince you to take less, they’re probably going to try to do that. Because ultimately that saves them money and it is a business, they make more money if they save money. So just be sure that you make a good decision about settlement or that you talk to or hire an attorney to represent you so you can make sure that you make a good decision.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have, please let me know. The best and easiest way to do that is by giving this video a thumbs up or by liking it. If you’ve got other questions about workers’ compensation law in Georgia, I’d encourage you to visit our Perkins-Studdard Workers’ Compensation YouTube channel where you can view all the videos from the Georgia Workers’ Compensation video series. You can also subscribe there to be notified of future videos as they come out.
If you’ve got some specific questions about settlement or any other issue in your workers’ compensation case, a free consultation is normally the best way to get those questions answered. You can set up a free consultation with me in one of two easy ways. You can contact my office at the phone number that’s on the bottom of the screen and someone will speak with you and get a consultation set up for you. Or you can visit our website, www.perkinslawtalk.com, where you can complete and submit the free consultation request form that’s there and we’ll get one scheduled for you.
Thanks again for watching today and I wish you the best of luck as you recover from your injury.