Michigan lawyer discusses how to negotiate a workers’ comp settlement to ensure you get a fair amount and also explains the redemption process.
Our clients frequently ask about settlement and how they can guarantee a fair amount is paid. This can be a difficult task when insurance companies dispute valid claims for no good reason. Settlement value is always going to be tied to insurance company exposure. Watch out for so-called “independent” medical examinations that say you are fine. Do not trust wage earning capacity assessments that list available jobs. How should you negotiate a workers’ comp settlement? Prepare your claim like it is going to trial.
Why is a settlement an attractive option?
Settlement is an attractive option for many disabled employees. It allows them to trade workers’ comp benefits for a lump sum cash payment. This money can be used for any purpose including additional medical treatment, job search efforts, starting a business, paying off debt, or retirement. Insurance companies usually do not settle cases when an employee has returned to gainful employment or taken a voluntary retirement. Timing is everything so consult a lawyer before making any decisions.
How do you negotiate a workers’ comp settlement?
If you are going to negotiate a workers’ comp settlement you should start by developing evidence that shows a continuing need for medical treatment and work restrictions. Insurance companies make settlement offers based upon their exposure to medical costs and lost wages. Insurance companies are motivated to settle work injury claims, but they will not overpay. We recommend having an off the record conversation with a treating physician about what the future might hold.
Here are some general guidelines to use when calculating a fair settlement amount. Take the weekly comp rate and multiple it by 52. For example, if a disabled employee is getting $500 per week under workman’s comp, they should receive $26,000 per year in lost wages. Insurance companies will typically pay a number of years for lost wages. The value of future medical treatment can also be used to increase settlement value.
Pick up the telephone and discuss it with the claims adjuster. Be careful because this can be seen as a red flag that a person is not being truthful about their disability and has another job lined up.
Hire an experienced lawyer when negotiating a workers’ comp settlement
We do not recommend negotiating a workers’ comp settlement without speaking to an experienced lawyer first. Insurance companies make low-ball settlement offers because they know people are in financial distress. They also exploit a lack of knowledge to settle cheaply. It is also possible to screw up entitlement to social security disability benefits or Medicare because the redemption paperwork was done incorrectly.
All settlements must also be approved by a magistrate at a redemption hearing. A determination will be made whether settlement is appropriate based upon the facts, law, and medical evidence. Settlement cannot be approved unless it is six months past the date of injury. The magistrate is a neutral party and will not ensure that maximum dollars are paid. Hire a lawyer to protect your legal rights. The attorney fee is as little as 15% of the settlement when being voluntarily paid.
Need help? Contact our workman’s comp lawyers for a free consultation
If you have questions about negotiating a workers’ comp settlement after being injured on the job in Michigan, call us now, or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. There is absolutely no cost or obligation. We’re here for you.
Our attorneys have been exclusively helping injured workers in Michigan for more than 35 years and can help you better understand Michigan workman’s comp laws and explain what happens if you or a loved one has been hurt on the job. To see what our own clients have to say about the caring, compassion, and communication they received from us, you can read in their own words about their experience here on our testimonials page from clients we have helped.
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.