Michigan attorney discusses how to handle the workers’ comp first settlement offer and why negotiation is the key to getting a fair amount.
Settlement is an attractive option for many disabled employees. It allows them to do their medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation without interference. Money can be used for any purpose including finding a new job, education, paying off debt, and retirement. Settlement is also income-tax free. Here are some things disabled employees need to know about the workers’ comp first settlement offer.
It’s all a negotiation
Settlement value is going to depend upon how long a disabled employee must remain off work and future medical needs. Insurance companies do not want to overpay, and they can be ruthless. We have seen insurance companies hire private investigators to follow people just because settlement was discussed.
Settlement must be treated like any other negotiation. If the workers’ comp first settlement offer is low make sure to reject it and also make sure the insurance company knows the value of your claim. This can be accomplished by securing additional medical and vocational evidence. Find out from your doctor how much medical treatment will cost in the future. Multiple your weekly rate by 52 to see how much the insurance company is paying each year in wage loss benefits. Ask for too much money and the negotiation break down.
Disabled employees should expect the workers’ comp first settlement offer to be low but should not be discouraged. We have seen first offers that are just five cents on the dollar. Be patient and let the negotiation play out. It is important to understand that nobody can be forced into a settlement.
Get a lawyer involved fast
We recommend contacting an attorney before any settlement offer is made. This will ensure that you are not locked into a bad negotiating position. For example, a woman recently contacted our office after giving her own settlement demand. The insurance company knew how much she wanted and refused to pay more even though her case had greater value. Let a professional formulate a settlement demand and take out the guess work.
It is no secret that attorneys get more money so it is important to get a workers’ comp lawyer involved as early as the first settlement offer. Insurance companies know that people who are represented understand their legal rights and have the means to enforce them. Watch out for adjusters who attempt to bully you into settling without legal counsel. You cannot be cut-off just because you spoke with an attorney and fees are just a fraction of the settlement.
Attorney fees are capped at 10% of the settlement if benefits are paid voluntarily. Attorney fees are 15% of the first $25,000 and 10% on the remainder for disputed cases. These amounts are easily made up by getting a larger settlement amount. Please call for a free telephone consultation today.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.