When it comes to workers’ compensation cases in Pennsylvania, you can count on the discussion of a settlement to come up, with the opportunity to negotiate. Not every case will settle, but it something to think about because you are likely to have that opportunity. There are a few important things you need to know about settlement and negotiation in workers’ compensation claims.
The employer/insurance company doesn’t have to settle
Your employer or their insurance company is not required to offer a settlement when you’ve been hurt on the job. They do owe you compensation for your wages and medical expenses, so if you feel that you’ve been wrongfully denied such compensation, you can go to court to force the employer/insurance company to provide for these disputed items. Having said that, going to court cannot force a settlement offer. To receive a settlement, you must negotiate.
How to settle a case in negotiation
When it comes to settling your claim through negotiation, you and your employer/insurance company must both be willing to negotiate. This may be affected by when you choose to negotiate. You don’t want to settle too early while your medical condition and future care needs are unknown. Sometimes, the employer or insurance company will refuse to negotiate. If either side is unwilling, then you cannot negotiate a settlement for your claim. You also need to have some agreement on the issues at hand, primarily, how much money is rightfully owed. Settlements can be much more complicated than this, and it helps to have an attorney to help you negotiate.
How to evaluate your claim
There’s no calculator for workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, and every case is unique. A settlement is an agreement to receive a particular amount in workers’ compensation wages and medical benefits in exchange for your right to pursue the case further. Your workers’ compensation wages will end at some point, though your medical care can continue for an indefinite amount of time. This is why some workers’ compensation settlements are focused primarily on the expenses of current and future medical care. You can also incorporate your lost wages, though medical care will usually be the largest factor.
Unfortunately, you cannot include your pain and suffering or lost future earning potential in your settlement negotiations. Even if your life has been turned upside down, you have to focus on the lost wages and medical expenses that you’ve incurred.
It is usually a wise choice to seek out legal representation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Pennsylvania. An attorney will know which questions to ask of the doctors, how to read the medical reports, and how to assist you with your workplace injuries and concerns. A lawyer can also ensure that your case is worth a bit more by evaluating the claim and taking the appropriate steps to maximize your recovery. It is also much easier to negotiate with the insurance adjuster with an attorney.
Among the most important services that your workers’ compensation attorney will provide is going to be negotiation. Every case is unique, and you need an attorney who has experience with workers’ compensation claims. Some firms are large and handle several cases at once, with thousands of claims each year. Other firms are smaller and take on fewer clients at once. It is up to you to decide which options are ideal for your needs, and to research the attorneys before hiring.
There are some similarities in workers’ compensation claims, but each case is going to have its own unique factors and elements that will affect the negotiation and final recovery. It is not wise to work with an attorney who looks at all claims as being equal and requiring the same approach. You want to find a lawyer who understands the particular details of your case and how they impact negotiation.
Don’t discuss your case
You should never discuss your case with your employer or an insurance adjuster without an attorney. Their goal is always going to be to convince you to settle early for a low amount. Remember that an insurance adjuster is a professional negotiator and knows how to get you to settle. Don’t limit your own recovery by discussing a settlement without the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. It is not uncommon for injured workers to say something that can be held against them later. This can greatly reduce your recovery on your claim, so get a free consultation with an attorney before you even think about discussing or negotiation your claim.
Make informed decisions
Some cases settle when they should not, and some cases that should settle do not. It is ultimately up to you, as the client, though it is not always an easy decision. You need to have all of the information to make an educated choice about your own workers’ compensation claim, and an attorney can assist with ensuring that you have the information you need. It will always be your choice, but a lawyer can certainly help you to have the tools you need to make the right one.
Don’t stand alone
You don’t have to stand alone against your employer or insurance company. Finding an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can make all the difference. You can get a free consultation and find a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis, to ensure that your case is handled professionally.