Workers Compensation: The Settlement Process
Most people who have been in a workplace accident or injury is entitled to some form of financial compensation as part of a workers’ compensation settlement. This is as a result of the pain and suffering they have endured, as well as in replacement of the wages they have lost during time away from work.
Unfortunately, the workers’ comp settlement process can be complex and convoluted. Worst of all, many workers never receive the financial compensation to which they would otherwise be legally entitled because they are unable to successfully navigate the workers’ comp settlement process on their own.
Hiring a qualified workers compensation attorney is one way to help you navigate the complicated legal landscape of workers compensation settlement and the process to arrive at an agreement. However, if you want to learn more about the process of arriving at a settlement, the following tips may help you.
Knowing the Amount to Which You Are Entitled
Part of the challenge of negotiating a workers’ comp settlement is that many workers either do not know the amounts to which they are entitled or that they undervalue the dollar amount of compensation. Without knowing the amount to which you are entitled, you are likely to underestimate the amount you may be offered in the settlement process.
The first and most obvious amount is the wages to which you are entitled for time missed at work. Following an injury or illness resulting from a workplace incident, you may miss work due to hospitalization, pain, and discomfort, or simply a need to rest and recover. You may also require time away from work for doctor’s appointments, physiotherapy, or other medical appointments. You are entitled to wage compensation for time spent away from work for all these activities.
You may also be entitled to payment for future lost wages if the extent of your injuries is such that it may inhibit from you from working in the same occupation in the future. It is also common to have an amount that is rewarded for vocational retraining in these instances.
Finally, a workers’ comp settlement may reflect the cost of medical care that you have or can expect to receive.
Negotiating a Reasonable Settlement: Trial and Avoiding Trial
Once you hire a worker’s compensation lawyer, they will meet with the legal representative of your employer or former employer. Over a period of several weeks or months, they will go back and forth in the discussion of the merits of your claim and the associated financial costs.
Of course, your lawyer will work with you every step of the way to ensure your voice is heard.
Once you negotiate a settlement amount in Michigan, you generally forgo your right to claim any further financial compensation. It is for this reason that it is essential to decide on an initial amount that will cover your expenses and missed wages.