When you injure your knee doing your job, you will probably have a workers compensation case. Most people know something about workers compensation. They may know that it pays for medical treatment and some of their lost wages.
Many people also have heard of workers compensation settlements. But, a lot of people do not know exactly what a settlement is and how it works. In this article, I am going to discuss workers compensation knee injury settlements.
Why would I want to settle my workers compensation knee injury case?
You can settle your case for any reason. But, most people wait until they reach maximum medical improvement to settle.
Maximum medical improvement is the point at which your treating doctor has gotten you as good as they can. With a serious knee injury, this probably means that you have had one or more knee surgeries and physical therapy to recover afterward.
When you reach this point, you may be ready to close your workers compensation case and move on. Settlement is one way that you can can move on.
There can certainly be other reasons that you want to settle your case. You just need to understand that settlement is final. You can almost never go back and change it. Because of that, you need to really understand what you are doing before you settle.
Am I entitled to a settlement for my knee injury?
The first thing to understand is that you are not ever entitled to a Georgia workers compensation settlement. But, you can almost always settle your case if you want to.
The reason you are not entitled to a settlement is that you have to reach an agreement with the workers compensation insurance company to settle your case. The insurance company will probably want to settle, but they do not have to settle. You do not have to settle either.
Suppose you hurt your knee at work and had to have knee replacement surgery. After that surgery, you might not be able to go back to the job you used to do. You could try to reach an agreement with the insurance company to settle your case.
How do I settle my case for my knee injury?
Settlement is really just an agreement with the insurance company to accept a certain amount of money and settle your case. The insurance company might make you an offer and you might accept it. Or, you might make an offer and the insurance company might accept it.
But, settlement is not usually that easy. If it is that easy, there is a good chance that you settled your case for a lot less than you should.
The insurance company is a business. They want to settle your knee injury case for as little as possible because they save money when they do that.
You need to make sure that you do not give up your workers compensation case for less than you should. After you settle, you may need some more medical treatment. If you still have problems with your knee, you may find it difficult to return to work. Getting a good settlement can provide you with some protection in case you do have continuing problems with your knee.
Is there a specific settlement amount that I should receive for my knee injury?
No. There is no certain amount under the law that the workers compensation insurance company has to pay for a knee injury settlement.
Some people confuse settlements with permanent partial disability benefits. Permanent partial disability benefits are paid in a specific amount and for a specific time based on a rating that your treating doctor assigns.
Settlement is different. The amount of the settlement will depend on how much you or your workers compensation attorney can convince the insurance company to offer.
How can I determine how much the insurance company should offer me in a settlement?
This is complicated. When I evaluate a workers compensation case for settlement, I consider all of the different benefits that the workers compensation insurance company will likely have to pay my client in the future. I use a detailed computer program to make sure I include everything.
Based on these calculations and my own experience, I make determinations to advise my clients about settlement. After a discussion with me, my client makes a decision about whether they want to settle and, if so, what they would be willing to accept. Then, I go to the insurance company and negotiate until I get their best offer.
You can approach settlement the same way and make a determination of how much you would be willing to accept. The things that you may find difficult are accurately predicting what workers compensation benefits you can get in the future and then convincing the insurance company that your case will cost them a lot of money if they do not settle.
Are there reasons I might not want to settle my case?
Yes. You never have to settle your case. While it is certainly difficult to cover ever reason that you might not want to settle, here are a few:
- You want to continue working at the company where you got hurt
- You are about to have knee surgery or other major medical treatment for your knee injury
There is nothing that prevents you from settling your case in these situations. But, you should definitely pause before doing so.
Many employers will require you to give you your job if you settle your workers compensation case. So, settling might not be a good way to go if you think you want to keep working with the company and believe that they will keep you around long term.
As far as major medical treatment goes, settling before knee surgery can be very difficult because you do not know how the surgery will turn out. In those situations, it is often best to wait until after surgery and recovery from surgery before settling.
What happens if I do not settle my workers compensation knee injury?
If you do not settle your case, it stays open and you may continue to receive workers compensation benefits if you are entitled to them. If you want to find out more about the different types of Georgia workers compensation benefits, I would suggest that you take a look at the articles available on our medical treatment rights and workers compensation income pages.
One very important thing to understand is that Georgia’s workers compensation law has deadlines and limits on benefits. This means that you are limited in how long you can draw benefits. You also sometimes have deadlines that you have to meet to draw additional benefits. So, if you do not settle your case, there is a good chance that your benefits will stop at some point.
Do I need an attorney to settle my knee injury case?
You do not have to have a workers compensation attorney to settle your case. However, I would strongly recommend that you speak to one before moving forward with settlement. If you do not, you could certainly make a big mistake that would cost you a lot of money.
It does not cost you anything to have a consultation with me or another workers compensation attorney in our firm. We provide free consultations so you do not have to worry about spending money to find out if an attorney would be able to help you. This short article describes our firm’s free consultation process in more detail.
If you want to set up a free consultation, it only takes a couple of minutes. You can either call my office at (770) 214-8885 or complete this short consultation request form.