Let the Maus Law Firm Handle Your Workers Comp Settlement
Injured workers in Fort Lauderdale often receive offers to settle their workers’ compensation claims, usually for a lump sum amount. While the offer may be tempting and the amount may seem more significant than expected, claimants need to understand what they are giving up before accepting that lump-sum award.
It is so critical, in fact, that Florida workers’ compensation laws prohibit settlements in many situations unless the injured employee is represented by a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney or undergoes a full hearing so the worker is made entirely aware of their rights. While settlements differ in each case, below, we offer some basic guidelines.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements Differ From Settlements in Lawsuits
When a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer talks about a settlement, they are referring to something a little different from a settlement in a lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, a settlement is usually an all-or-nothing deal. Injured individuals often accept a settlement for the security of a guaranteed award. They trade the possibility of a higher award in court for the certainty of receiving the settlement amount.
In workers’ compensation cases, however, the situation is often different. The insurer or employer may make the settlement offer after the employee has already begun receiving medical and income benefits. In such cases, someone in authority has usually already ruled on the claim and determined that it is valid and the employee is entitled to compensation. The worker often does not gain as much certainty by accepting a settlement in a workers’ compensation claim as in a lawsuit. Instead, the insurer or the employer frequently benefits most from certainty with a settlement. However, for some claimants, the guarantee of a large amount upfront can be beneficial.
Calculating Florida Workers’ Compensation Settlements
There is no specific formula for calculating the amount of a workers’ compensation settlement. Insurance companies and employers look at several factors that could include:
- The type and severity of the injuries
- The degree of permanent disability involved
- The age of the employee
- The expected duration of medical benefits if the case is not settled
- Outstanding medical bills
- Conflict regarding eligibility
Because traditional workers’ compensation benefits are often paid out for many months or years, a lump sum payment could seem much more significant. It is a good idea to have an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorney review the settlement amount and the factors involved to see whether the settlement is fair in the long run.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements are Final – Seek Guidance From a Skilled Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Attorney
While an insurer or employer may offer a settlement soon after an employee suffers an injury in the workplace or receives a workplace illness diagnosis, it is often wise to wait before accepting. To gauge the full extent of an injury or illness, the worker may need to wait until a doctor determines they have reached the stage of maximum medical improvement, also known as MMI. Once an injured employee accepts a settlement, they cannot file another claim for further benefits if it turns out their condition requires more treatment than anticipated.
A consultation with a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer is a good first step for any employee who has been offered a settlement for their workers’ compensation claim. To talk to one of our knowledgeable attorneys, call us at 954-784-6310 or contact us online for a free consultation.