Workers’ Compensation Settlements in Riverdale
Many injured workers receive their workers’ compensation benefits for a period of time and resume their original duties at full salary when they recover. But what happens to workers whose injuries will never heal enough for them to go back to their original job?
The workers’ compensation program pays disability benefits for up to eight years, but this is generally an unsatisfactory solution for both the worker and their employer. Instead, a worker might seek a settlement of their claim. Legal counsel with skill handling workers’ compensation settlements in Riverdale could advocate for your interests and fight for the benefits you are entitled to receive under the program.
Temporary Income Benefits Can Tide a Worker Over
When a worker suffers an injury or illness, they receive indemnity benefits to replace some of their lost income. If they cannot work at all for at least seven days, a worker typically receives temporary total disability benefits equal to 2/3 of their regular wage—if they recover enough to return to the job they had before their injury, the temporary income benefits then stop. However, a worker could potentially receive this benefit for up to 400 weeks.
Unfortunately, some injured workers never regain enough functioning to resume their former jobs. Instead, their doctor certifies they have reached a state of “maximum medical improvement,” meaning that they will not get any better. Along with the certification that the worker’s condition will not improve, the doctor assigns the worker an impairment rating that designates the amount of functioning the worker lost due to their injury.
Settlement Could Offer Valuable Benefits
The state encourages voluntary settlement of workers’ compensation claims, and Riverdale insurers often prefer to settle to permanently resolve the matter. However, workers should not accept a settlement offer before discussing it with their attorney.
Although settling is not always desirable, it could offer advantages. For example:
- Settlements are often paid in lump sums, which offers the worker more financial flexibility;
- Once an individual has entered into a settlement, they can receive their medical care from the provider of their choice; and
- Settlement relieves the worker of the stress of appealing a claim denial through the hearing process.
However, if the worker has not fully healed at the time of the settlement, it might not be possible to accurately predict the cost of treating the injury and any lingering effects. Additionally, if their condition worsens after settlement, the worker cannot go back to request more money.
Legal Assistance During the Settlement Process
A Riverdale employee risks selling a workers’ compensation claim short if they try to negotiate a settlement alone. The certainty of a settlement has considerable value to an insurer, and an experienced local attorney could ensure that any settlement adequately compensates a worker for closing the claim.
A settlement must also provide adequate funds for the worker to pay for all medical care they will require for their injury. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §34-9-263 provides payments for a permanent loss of body functioning. If the injury caused a permanent impairment, the settlement should reflect the injured party’s lost functioning and ability to earn.
If the injured worker has disability insurance or is eligible for Social Security disability benefits, settling might affect the payments the worker receives from those sources. Consulting a professional about how the settlement might affect disability payments is a critical step in determining whether a settlement is adequate under the circumstances.
Contact an Attorney with Experience in Workers’ Comp Settlements in Riverdale
If you are facing the consequences of a work injury and are considering a workers’ compensation settlement in Riverdale, schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney away to get started. Legal professionals could provide sound advice and protect your interests at every step.