What Factors Should Be Considered Before Settling A Workers’ Compensation Case?
When an injured worker is thinking about settling a workers’ compensation case, they will want to consider three main factors. The first factor is medical benefits, the second is lost wages, and the last one is permanent disability benefits.
A worker will want to make sure that they’ve had adequate medical care. That means that they feel that they have received the treatment that basically cured and relieved the effects of the injury. Sometimes a claimant will get placed at maximum medical improvement earlier than they should. Maximum medical improvement is a plateau where a doctor says that the individual does not need any more treatment. If the person feels that they need more treatment, then they’re not at maximum medical improvement, and they will want to consider that as part of the settlement. The worker will either want to consider future medical care to get them to maximum medical improvement, or they may not want to settle if they don’t feel that they’re at maximum medical improvement.
The second factor to consider is lost wages. Lost wages are called temporary disability benefits. Sometimes people have lost full wages, which would make them eligible for temporary total disability payments. If a worker has only missed time for doctor’s appointments, and those amounts haven’t been reimbursed, that’s called temporary partial disability payments. If somebody is settling, they want to make sure that their wage replacement benefits were paid correctly.
The third factor is called permanent disability benefits. Permanent disability benefits are payments to an individual if they are capable of returning to work, but they have permanent loss to their body. Permanent disability benefits come in two forms, which are permanent partial disability benefits and permanent total disability benefits. Permanent partial disability benefits are payment to the worker for loss to their body if the worker is capable of returning to work. If the worker is incapable of returning to work as a result of the injury, then they will want to consider the value of permanent total disability benefits. The last thing that a worker may want to consider is future maintenance of medical care. They may also want to consider if they have any permanent scars or limps, which would entitle them to disfigurement benefits. They also should consider some money for waivers. If a worker waives their right to future workers’ compensation benefits, they could get some money in the settlement amount in exchange.
How Is The Amount Of My Workers’ Compensation Settlement Determined?
Workers’ compensation settlements are determined based on the amount of any additional medical care that’s necessary, any past lost wages that haven’t been paid, any future lost wages that may be lost, and any permanent impairment. Permanent impairment comes in two different forms, permanent partial disability and permanent total disability. Permanent partial disability is paid when an individual is capable of returning to work but has the permanent loss to their body. Permanent total disability is claimed when the individual is injured badly enough that they cannot return to work at all as a result of the injury.
The main thing to know in regard to the difference between workers’ compensation and non-work-related personal injury case settlements is that Colorado workers’ compensation does not pay any money for pain and suffering. Those are called noneconomic damages.
Personal injury claims will consider future lost wage earnings, whereas workers’ compensation will not necessarily consider future lost wage earnings. For instance, if an individual is not at maximum medical improvement, meaning their treatment is not done yet, but they’re looking to settle their claim, they want to consider their future lost wages until they get to maximum medical improvement. Other than that, any loss of access to the labor market, which translates into future lost wages is not paid unless the person is permanently totally disabled. If a person is permanently partially disabled and is entitled to an impairment rating, loss of access to the labor market is considered as part of the payment included in that impairment rating. Impairment ratings are determined based on the body part that is injured, and they’re measured by the third edition of the American Medical Association’s Guide of Permanent Impairment. An impairment rating that is arrived at is a percentage number. The percentage number is put into one of two different formulas, depending on whether the person has a scheduled injury or a whole person injury.
Is The Date Of The Injury Counted In Determining Days Off From Work?
The date of the injury is not included or counted in determining days off from work. If a person is injured on Monday, then wage loss is considered to start the next day, which is Tuesday. For instance, if an injury occurs on a Monday, and the individual misses three workdays in a row – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – they’re entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits, which are wage replacement benefits that would start on that Friday. However, if the individual misses more than two weeks of work, then the work comp insurance carrier will go back and pay those initial three days lost. But, if it’s a low amount of lost time, and it’s less than two weeks, those first 3 days would not be paid by the work comp carrier.
For more information on Settling A Workers’ Compensation Case In CO, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 420-8080 today.
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