February 25 2020 - You're going about life, attacking the everyday hustle and bustle with a positive, then all of a sudden your life gets flipped upside down by a workplace injury.
Suddenly, you're pushed into survivor mode. How can you protect you and your family's financial future if you can't work? The best option is to file a workers' compensation claim.
However, if you don't have a background in legal processes, you probably aren't familiar with how workers' comp settlements work.
Here is an in-depth look at how the settlement process and what you can expect. Use this as your guide in the beginning stages.
What Should I Do Early on?
As soon as you have a work-related injury, your top priority is to seek medical attention and get your health back on track. Everything else takes second fiddle.
Not to mention that if you don't immediately seek medical help, the insurance company will use it against you later on. They'll claim that if your injury was as serious as you say, then you would've prioritized medical attention.
Whatever steps or instructions the doctor gives you, be sure to follow it to the very last detail. While the expenses may be hefty now, your settlement will take care of the rest.
If you're worried about the temporary toll on your immediate finances from paying the bills, for now, there are options such as pre-settlement loans to help you out.
After you've had the medical attention that you required, you need to file a claim for workers' compensation through your employer.
Once you inform them of that, they will hand you the necessary paperwork to file a claim through their workers' comp insurance provider.
Will This Process Bring Tension Between Me and My Employer?
This is understandably a huge reason that injured employees are hesitant to file a workers' comp claim if they've been hurt on the job. Several misconceptions lead them to believe it's not the right thing to do.
First off, they think that a workers' comp settlement will cause a financial setback for the employer. Not at all.
Workers' compensation insurance is to protect the employer from paying such expenses. However, if they don't have workers' comp (which is a crime), they will be subject to fines.
The workers' compensation process is set up to place as little strain between you and your employer as possible.
To reach the desired workers compensation settlement amounts, employees work with the insurance company directly to reach a proper settlement.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
A great many people that file workers' compensation claims make the mistake of trying to reach a settlement without legal representation.
Simply put, doing so will put you at a huge disadvantage to reach the compensation that you're deserving of.
Consider this, to reach a proper settlement without an attorney, you'll be pitting yourself up against a professional insurance company. Their sole purpose is to convince you to settle for as small a settlement as possible.
Not only that, but they'll pull out all of the stops to do it. In fact, there are many scenarios in which an insurance company will hire private investigators to look through your claim to spot any potential holes they can use against you.
Rather than face that by yourself, find a trusted workers' compensation lawyer with the experience and know-how you need on your side.
They can help you through significant stages such as gathering evidence, advising you on the next steps, talking you through options with your process, and helping you understand the settlement amount that you should be shooting for.
Remember, your number one priority is getting healthy. Let an attorney handle the settlement side of things for you.
What Are the Benefits of Settling?
There are many benefits of reaching a workers' comp settlement prior to it being taken to trial.
See below for a list of benefits you might find advantageous for your situation.
1. Free to Continue Your Life
Not many people realize the toll that a workers' comp case can take on your everyday life. While it's a necessary step to save your finances, it's mentally draining to go through.
The process for reaching a settlement can take over a year to reach an amount you and the insurance company can agree upon.
If you're taking the case to trial, that's even longer of a time where your financial future is hanging in the balance. Settling beforehand can help you get back to normalcy much quicker.
2. You Have Some Control of the Amount
While taking the workers' comp case to trial is sometimes necessary, you're also putting the payout amount out of your hands.
By going to trial, you're leaving it up to a judge to reach an amount based on the evidence that they are given by both sides.
If you and the insurance company (along with your attorney) work together, you can negate the need for it to go into someone else's hands.
3. Pay off Debt
If you take it to court, you're going to be paying court fees on top of all the other expenses this process will cost you.
By settling, you're promising yourself a lump sum that you can use to pay off the debt and get your life back on track.
No more worrying about the accruing debt or how you'll pay next month's rent.
Workers' Comp Settlements: Be Prepared
Now that you've seen what to expect with workers' comp settlements, you know that it's time to get prepared.
Seek out medical attention, start compiling evidence, and get a trusted attorney to represent your side of things.
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