Workers’ Compensation Settlements in Tucker
When you suffer a job-related injury, it does not take long to recognize the difficulties of living on workers’ compensation benefits. They provide only two-thirds of your average pre-injury wage, and few workers can manage on that. You also might be frustrated with your medical provider, who you must select from a list your employer provides.
You might prefer a lump sum to the weekly payments you get from workers’ compensation. Perhaps you wish to regain full control over your medical care, or you are tired of complying with the program’s requirements. Any or all of those reasons might prompt you to seek a settlement with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.
Settlements can be beneficial for the worker, but they come at a cost. Agreeing to a settlement will require you to give up some of your rights. Working closely with a capable attorney could help ensure workers’ compensation settlements in Tucker provides you fair value in exchange for relinquishing your rights to ongoing benefits.
Global Settlements Permanently Resolve the Claim
Global settlements extinguish the employee’s rights to all their benefits related to the specific injury at issue. Once the worker accepts the global settlement, they will no longer collect their indemnity benefits (weekly payments), they will not receive free employer-provided medical care, and they cannot apply for permanent partial disability benefits.
When the employee has received the weekly indemnity benefit, a settlement is called a “liability settlement.” In the settlement document, the parties acknowledge the worker suffered their injury on the job and agree to settle the claim for a specific amount.
If the employer disputes that the injury occurred on the job or believes the worker is faking it, and the employee has not received an indemnity benefit, a settlement is known as a “no liability settlement.” The settlement documents state the employee releases their workers’ compensation claim for a certain amount, but the employer does not acknowledge that the injury is work-related.
Timeline for Settlements
The law permits parties to settle workers’ compensation claims at any time after an injury, and employers’ insurance companies are often eager to settle early. However, it could be difficult to properly assess a settlement offer before the worker has healed completely or reached maximum medical improvement–the point where a doctor believes the injury has healed as much as it ever will. The cost of future necessary medical care should be a part of the settlement, so it is unwise to settle before a worker’s physician can reasonably estimate the future care they require.
Negotiation and Signatures
When an workers’ compensation insurer offers a settlement, a Tucker attorney could evaluate the claim to determine whether the offer is fair. Some negotiation is typically necessary before the parties agree. Once the parties agree on a fair value, lawyers for the insurer prepare a settlement agreement. This process could require several weeks.
Once the worker’s attorney reviews the settlement documents, the worker signs and the agreement will be sent back to the insurer. The insurer signs and submits the settlement agreement to the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation. The length of this process depends on the efficiency of the insurer’s lawyer but is generally complete within one to two weeks.
Board Review and Approval
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §34-9-15 requires the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation to review and approve the settlement to ensure it is fair to the worker. Board approval typically comes within a few days if both parties have legal representation. Once the Board approves a settlement, the insurer has 20 days to pay the worker.
Depend on a Tucker Attorney to Handle Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Settlements provide injured workers with lump sum payments, allowing them the flexibility to handle their injury in the way they see fit. They also provide the insurer with certainty and free them from the administrative expenses of keeping a claim active.
However, workers should not attempt to handle a settlement alone. People often underestimate the value of their claims, and insurers may take advantage. Trust your workers’ compensation settlement negotiation to a skilled Tucker lawyer. Schedule a case review today.