Many injured workers in Michigan choose to settle their workers compensation cases. Below is some information about a workers compensation settlement, and how this option could benefit you.
To speak with one of our workmans comp attorneys, call us (855) 221-COMP, or fill out our contact form. The call and the advice are free.
Does workers comp law allow me to settle?
Is it common to settle a workers compensation case?
What is the benefit of a workers compensation settlement?
When is the right time to settle?
How will Social Security Disability benefits affect my settlement?
What if I'm receiving long-term disability?
Should I settle even if I'm being paid voluntary work comp benefits?
How can a workmans comp attorney help me with my options?
Q. Does workers comp law allow me to settle?
A. Yes. You can trade the value of future workers compensation benefits for a lump sum cash payment.
All workers compensation settlements must be approved by a magistrate at a redemption hearing.
Q. Is it common to settle a workers compensation case?
A. The majority of workers compensation cases are settled because both sides can lose at trial. Your employer or its insurance company could get stuck paying workers compensation benefits for years. You could also lose and get nothing. This provides plenty of incentive for both sides to resolve their differences short of trial.
Q. What is the benefit of a workers compensation settlement?
A. The primary benefit to settlement is that you can receive a lump sum payment instead of weekly checks. You will no longer be bothered by your employer or the insurance company. The independent medical examinations and the surveillance will stop. You are free to move on with your life and even get another job.
Q. When is the right time to settle?
A. A workers compensation settlement is a good idea if you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that no further medical treatment will improve your condition.
Many individuals who reach MMI have permanent work restrictions and cannot return to their past employment. This is the ideal time to settle your workers compensation claim. You can start your own business, find another job within your restrictions or simply retire.
You should also consider settlement if it will increase your other benefits. For example, you can receive workers compensation and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time. But you must speak with a workmans compensation attorney about this option, as Social Security benefits can actually reduce your work comp benefits in some cases.
Q. How will Social Security Disability benefits affect my settlement?
A. Social Security will reduce your monthly benefit if your combined work comp and Social Security payments exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings. But you can avoid this offset by settling your workers compensation case for a lump sum payment. The law allows you to prorate the workers compensation settlement over your lifetime, which reduced or in most cases, eliminates any offset.
Here's some information on what happens if you win your workers compensation case, where the lump sum payment option is addressed.
Q. What if I'm receiving Long Term Disability?
A. Another time you should consider settling your workers compensation case is if you are receiving long-term disability (LTD). This is a type of insurance that pays a portion of your salary if you cannot work because of a medical condition. It is typically purchased as part of a group policy with your employer.
LTD does not normally cover work injuries and you can rarely collect workers compensation at the same time. Many employers will force you to claim LTD instead of workers compensation, because it is cheaper for them.
If you settle your workers compensation case for a lump sum, you can allocate the money over your lifetime. Our workmans comp attorneys have been very successful in getting insurance companies to accept this allocation and having them continue to pay long-term disability with only a small monthly reduction. This allows you to get both workers compensation and long-term disability.
Q. Should I settle even if I'm being paid voluntary work comp benefits?
Every injured worker and workers compensation lawsuit is different. But even when you are being paid workers compensation benefits on a voluntary basis, it may be in your best interest to settle your claim.
This is especially true if your doctor is going to release you to work and you do not wish to return to your job. If your doctor says you can work without restrictions, your entitlement to wage loss benefits ends.
Q. How can a workmans comp attorney help me with my options?
A. A workers comp lawyer can help you understand the issues in your case and show you how to get the best recovery possible. A good lawyer will want to meet with you and review your medical situation.
Sometimes a workers compensation settlement is not in your best interest. You may find that a workers compensation settlement has unforeseen consequences, such as losing your seniority, pension or health insurance.
It costs you nothing to have your claim evaluated by a workers compensation lawyer. And if you do decide to hire a lawyer, the cost will easily be made up by the increased settlement that you receive.
The best way to get an idea of the value of your workers compensation settlement is by speaking with one of our workmans comp attorneys.
We've been protecting people injured on the job for more than 35 years, and we can get you the most value out of your claim.
Call us at (855) 221-COMP, or fill out our free consultation form.