When to settle your workers’ compensation case.
I often say that settling your workers’ compensation case is like picking apples on a tree. Pick it too early, while it’s still green and you’ll get a stomach ache. Wait too long and it will fall to the ground and rot.
Knowing when to settle your workers compensation case is an art I have honed for over 20 years. Many clients will ask me when is the right time to settle my workers’ compensation case. Some clients want to settle their case immediately. That’s frequently a bad idea and here’s why.
You only get one chance to settle your case. There are no re-dos with settlement. Once it’s over, it’s over. Because of that, it is critically important that you have a clear understanding on the totality of your medical problems arising from your job related injury. If you settle your case and don’t know all your medical problems, you will not be able to include the value of all of your injuries in your settlement.
When you settle your case, you need to know how long your ability to earn money in the future will be adversely affected by your job injury. You also need to know your PPD rating and whether your case is catastrophic.
Finally, you need a clear understanding of your need for future medical care. Be aware that as far as your medical care is concerned, there are two ways to settle your workers’ compensation case; one, with open medical care, the other, with closed medical care.
If you settle your workers compensation case with closed medical care, the burden of all of your future medical care shifts to you. That’s not necessarily a bad idea provided you understand all of your medical problems and receive enough money in the settlement to pay for all of your future medical care.
On the other hand, you can settle your workers’ compensation case with open medical care. That means that for a certain limited time, the insurance company, not you, will be responsible for continuing to pay for your medical care. Frequently that length of time ranges from 3 months to 2 years.
Whether you settle your case with open or closed medical care, I tell my clients it’s like a see-saw. The more money they pay, the more likely they are to want to close your medical care. And, the longer the time you want medical care open, the lower will be the amount they will be willing to pay you to settle your case.
There is no right and wrong answer. Whichever way works best for you is the best way. Before you settle your Georgia workers’ compensation case, make sure you factor in all of the components that represent the total value of your case.