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Workers Compensation Settlement Timelines

Many people ask me good questions about workers compensation settlements.  Some of the common questions people ask me include the following:

  • How long does it take a workers compensation case to settle?
  • Does the time it takes to reach a settlement affect the amount of the settlement?
  • If I wait too long to settle my case, will I miss a deadline?

To understand settlements better, you first need to understand one very important thing: you never have to settle your case.  But, you also have to understand that the insurance company does not necessarily have to settle your case either.

Even though neither you nor the insurance company have to settle, a lot of workers compensation cases do settle.  But, there is no certain time for a workers compensation settlement to occur.

Although there is no specific time for settlement, there are some times that it may be better to consider settling your case.  In this article, I will discuss the timing of settlements and deadlines that you may want to consider in deciding if and when you should settle your case.

How long does it typically take a case to settle?

Unfortunately, the answer is, “It depends”.  Some cases settle in a few months.  Some take years to settle.

Doctor and patient arm injuryYou can settle your case whenever you want.  You just have to agree  with the insurance company on an amount an the language of the settlement.  So, you could potentially settle your case a week after you injury.

But, you probably do not want to settle your case that early.  If you settle too early, you will probably lose in the long run.

Many people settle too early when they do not get all the medical treatment they want or need.  They may settle before the doctor accurately diagnoses their injury.  Because it is too early, they do not really know for how much they should accept to settle their case.

Can I wait too long to settle my case?

I can think of a few different reasons why you do not want to wait too long to settle.  First, Georgia’s workers compensation law is full of tricky deadlines.

Sometimes, these deadlines will end your entire workers compensation case.  In that situation, the insurance company will likely offer you nothing or very little to settle because your case is probably already over.

Other times, these deadlines will take away your right to receive certain types of benefits.  For example, you might lose your eligibility for temporary total disability benefits because you had too long of a gap in receiving those benefits.  This can happy with a tricky deadline in Georgia’s workers compensation law called the change in condition statute of limitations.

You might lose eligibility for medical treatment because of the change in the law limiting medical benefits to 400 weeks in some cases.  The settlement value of your case will probably decline any time you lose eligibility for benefits.

Woman with calendarWhy else might I not want to wait as long to settle?

Many serious injuries prevent people from returning to physical jobs.  If you are in that situation, your injury may prevent you from returning to work with your employer.

Hopefully, you will be able to return to some sort of different job in the future.  Many people find it difficult to return to work after being out of work for a long time.

Your potential future employers may wonder about a long gap in your work history.  A long time between your injury and your settlement could create a gap in work history, especially if your employer terminates your employment.  Because of this, you might find it better to settle sooner rather than later.

What is the right time to settle my workers compensation case?

I wish there was an easy, correct answer to this question.  Unfortunately, there is not.  But, you should consider a number of important factors in deciding when to settle.

Doctor and nurse meeting with womanMaximum medical improvement is one of the most important factors.  Doctors use this term to describe when your injury is basically as good as it is going to get.

When you reach maximum medical improvement, you often have a good idea of how your injury will affect you in the future.  You can fairly accurately determine what future medical treatment you will need.

Also, you may have a good idea of whether you can return to work or not and what type of work you will be able to do.  This makes maximum medical improvement a good time to consider settlement.

But, you should remember that a doctor saying that you are at maximum medical improvement does not necessarily mean that you are.  Doctors do not always get things right.  A good time to consider settlement is when you feel you are at maximum medical improvement and do not need or want more medical treatment.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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