In most cases, workers comp settlement can take anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. That’s quite a wide range, you may say. That’s because there are a lot of factors affecting the workers’ comp settlement process. Hence, how long a workers comp settlement takes really depends on each individual case.
The Workers Comp Settlement Process
The workers’ comp settlement process will begin the day you filed your claim. So if you want to receive your settlement check sooner, you need to file your claim immediately after the accident. Or on the day you’ve known about your disability.
Once your claim is filed, the insurance company will examine the merits of your claim. They’ll look at your medical reports as well as any proof that the accident happened at work. If there are any doubts, they may also conduct an investigation of their own.
If they are satisfied with your claim, they’ll offer a settlement amount. This is where the negotiation will start. When both parties agree to the amount and terms of the settlement, your benefit check will soon follow. You can usually choose whether to receive your benefits as a lump sum or in staggered payments. If no agreement is reached, you can take your case to court.
Factors Affecting Workers Comp Settlement
As mentioned, there are a variety of factors that can affect how long a workers’ comp case will be settled. This includes:
1. The nature of your disability
In most states, workers comp benefits follow a no-fault system. This means that it doesn’t matter whose fault the injury is. As long as it happened in the workplace, you can claim workers comp benefits. If your injury is caused by an accident, it’s pretty easy to prove that your disability is work-related.
But the same cannot be said for disabilities that accumulated over time. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, is usually caused by repetitive motions like typing or any wrist movements that you do over and over again. With these types of disabilities, you’ll need strong evidence to prove that it happened because of your job.
2. Your medical evidence
How soon you’ll get your settlement check also depends on how soon you can get medical evidence. In most states, workers comp law requires that your treating physician is accredited by the insurance company. Otherwise, you won’t get your benefits. If your injury is complicated, it may take several tests before the doctor can make a full diagnosis. As such, it may take some time before you can get the medical evidence you need.
3. The severity of your injury
When you opt for a lump sum settlement, the amount will usually include lost wages compensation. If the severity of your injury makes it very obvious that you can’t go to work for days, the settlement amount will be much easier to determine.
4. The insurance company’s decision on your claim
If your employer or insurance company denies your claim, you’ll need to take it to court. The court hearing process can drag on for up to two years before a decision is reached. This, of course, will prolong the settlement process.
5. Whether or not you got a lawyer
If you have an experienced workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca by your side, the settlement process will be much easier. For one, they have handled many workers comp cases like yours before. So they’ll know what evidence to present so your insurance company has no choice but to approve your claim.
Since they know the law, they also know how much settlement you should receive. Thus, they can negotiate with your employer so you can get all the benefits you deserve.
Should You Agree to a Settlement Right Away?
While it’s convenient to agree to a settlement as soon as possible, it might not be the best course of action. This is especially true if you’re agreeing to a lump sum settlement.
You see, when you agree to a settlement, you may not be able to receive any other benefits after that. If your money runs out before you can get back to work, making ends meet can be tough.
Besides, if your condition takes a turn for the worse, you can’t expect any medical benefits anymore. You’ll have to pay for medical benefits out of your own pocket. Though, in some states, insurance companies still have to pay for medical benefits even after a settlement is paid.
If your financial situation allows you to wait it out a little longer, it’s best to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement. If not, just make sure you’re not getting the shorter end of the stick.
VICTOR MALCA LAW – A TRUSTED NAME IN FLORIDA
Victor Malca Law has over 25 years of litigation experience, we are the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are also recognized by our peers. Book a free consultation today.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.