Should I settle my workers’ compensation claim?
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, you’re probably hoping to reach a fair settlement as quickly as possible. After all, with medical expenses and missed time at work, an injury can set you back not only physically but financially. While it’s great to get your life back on track after an injury with a settlement, it’s also not something to rush into. A workers’ compensation claim attorney in Macon, Ga., can help you reach the best settlement possible, guiding you through the process along the way.
It may be surprising to hear, but a settlement isn’t actually required in Georgia workers’ compensation cases. The final decision to settle is voluntary, and it’s the injured worker’s decision. In car wrecks or other types of personal injury cases, you go through the court system to reach a settlement with a private insurance company, working to prove fault along the way.
With workplace injuries, you file an administrative claim with a Georgia workers’ compensation insurance company—ultimately arranging a sum that works for both you and your employer. Once you’ve come to an agreement, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation approves the settlement. It’s also a no-fault system, meaning it doesn’t matter who caused the accident or whose negligence led to your injury.
Settling after a denied claim
So if workers’ compensation claims are different from other personal injury claims, when should you consider settling? If your claim has been denied and you’ve requested an appeal, you’ll likely want to settle during the mediation period with your employer.
If you’re unable to come to terms, your case moves on to a workers’ compensation judge, who holds a hearing. While a skilled workers’ compensation attorney in Macon, Ga., can still help you navigate through the process of presenting your case, you do run the risk of your claim being denied again.
That’s why settling during the mediation period is sometimes the best move. It’s also worth keeping in mind many claims are initially denied due to improper paperwork or filing—something a workers’ compensation attorney in Macon, Ga. can help you avoid from the start.
Settling after an accepted claim
If, on the other hand, your claim has been accepted, it’s generally best to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement—the point where you have the best picture of your health and future treatment needs. Settlement types differ, but for medical expenses at least, settling too soon after your injury could mean missing out on compensation for the care you need. Again, a Macon workers’ compensation lawyer can help you through the process, building up your case with the right evidence, estimating the true cost of your healthcare needs, and negotiating for the best settlement possible.
Making the decision
Ultimately, the choice to settle or not is up to you. It should be an amount you’re confident will cover your medical expenses and any work adjustments you’ll experience moving forward due to your injury.
The attorneys at Buzzell, Graham & Welsh will help ensure your employer is treating you fairly and working toward a fair settlement. Contact the Macon workers’ compensation attorneys at Buzzell, Graham & Welsh for your free consultation today.