Some hurt workers are offered a lump-sum settlement after a work accident or illness. It's vital that former workers understand how to handle things so that they are not taken advantage of by the workers' compensation insurer. One important issue is the amount you get paid in the settlement. Several factors can affect the amount a hurt worker can expect from a workers' compensation settlement. These factors may vary depending on the state and specific circumstances of the case, but some common considerations include the following:
- The nature and severity of the injury: The extent and severity of the injury play a crucial role in determining the settlement amount. More severe injuries that result in significant physical or psychological impairment typically lead to larger settlements.
- Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment, including past and future medical expenses, is a critical factor. While most insurers pay the medical costs, a settlement should include any unpaid medical bills. This can include hospital bills, doctor visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: Compensation for lost wages during the recovery period is another significant factor. The worker may receive a portion of their regular wages as temporary disability benefits or, in cases of permanent impairment, compensation for reduced earning capacity that may cover the period leading up to retirement.
- Impairment rating: If the injury results in a permanent impairment, the physician may assign an impairment rating. This rating represents the degree of physical or functional impairment caused by the injury and can influence the settlement amount. Ratings are often expressed as a percentage.
- Disability classification: Depending on the state, injuries may be classified as partial disability, total disability, or permanent total disability. The classification affects the duration and amount of benefits the injured worker is entitled to receive.
- Age and occupation: The age and occupation of the injured worker can impact the settlement amount. Younger workers with longer expected work lives may receive higher settlements to account for potential future wage loss.
- Legal representation: Having an experienced workers' compensation attorney can significantly influence the outcome of a settlement. Lawyers can negotiate on behalf of the injured worker, ensuring that their rights are protected and helping to secure a fair settlement amount.
It's important to note that workers' compensation systems are designed to provide specific benefits and may not allow for additional damages such as pain and suffering. Consulting with a workers' compensation attorney can provide more accurate and specific information based on the individual circumstances of the case.
For more information, contact a workers' compensation lawyer near you.