You are under no obligation to accept the first workers’ compensation offer you receive. In fact, it could be in your best interest to discuss the offer with an attorney and to wait until you have physically recovered as much as possible before you agree to a settlement.
Why Accepting the First Offer Could Be a Mistake
Insurance companies aim to settle claims quickly and pay out as little as possible to protect their bottom line. An insurer might offer you a settlement that seems reasonable at first glance but may actually be far from adequate.
Many people who have been injured have no idea how much compensation would be fair. Insurance companies understand this and often try to convince injured people that an initial offer is generous when, in reality, it would not be enough to cover all costs associated with an injury.
Keep in mind that, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), workers’ compensation claims typically require claimants to forfeit their right to bring about a lawsuit later on. Because of this, it is important to accept a settlement offer that works for you rather than accepting the first workers’ compensation offer you receive.
You Might Not Know How Your Injury Will Affect You in the Future
The accident might have long-lasting effects. You could have ongoing medical costs, and your injury might impact your ability to work and earn a living.
It can also be tricky to anticipate how your injury or illness will play out over time. Your condition could improve, or it might get worse. You could make a full recovery, or your pain could increase as you face more limitations as time goes on.
If you accept a settlement without fully understanding the scope of your injury or illness and the types of treatment you may need in the future, you could leave money on the table. You might discover years or decades later that you require surgery, an in-home aide, or care in a nursing home and that the money you received in a settlement cannot cover those expenses. If that happens, you will not be able to go back and modify the terms of the settlement to get more money.
You could also be unaware of how your injury or illness will affect your ability to earn a living. You might think you will recover in a few months and be able to return to work, but that might not be realistic. Your condition might not improve as much as you hope it will, and you could only be able to endure part-time employment or perform light work.
You might be forced to take a less physically demanding position that pays significantly less than your current job. You could also be unable to work in the same profession at all and have to begin a new career in a different field.
Wait Until You Have Recovered as Much as Possible
Doctors and physical therapists may have some insight into how your condition will progress, but they cannot predict the future with 100-percent accuracy. Many factors can influence an individual’s medical outcome. That is why it is a good idea to wait until you have reached a point of maximal medical improvement before accepting a settlement offer. Once doctors are confident that you have recovered as much as possible, they will be able to more accurately assess how your injury or illness will affect you down the road.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You might be tempted to accept the insurance company’s first offer, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by medical bills and struggling to keep up with your mortgage and other essentials. You might also feel frustrated by the whole workers’ compensation process and want the ordeal to be over so you can move on with your life. Those feelings are understandable, but you might regret rushing to accept a settlement if it does not provide you enough funding to cover your future expenses.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has fought for clients across the United States who were hurt while working and helped them seek reasonable amounts of compensation. We can review your case and work to obtain a settlement that will fairly compensate you for your injuries and for the long-term effects you will likely experience down the road.
A lawyer could consider the nature and severity of your injuries, how much you will likely have to pay for medical costs in the future, and how the accident might affect your ability to earn a living. An attorney might determine that the insurance company’s initial offer is inadequate.
We could attempt to negotiate a larger settlement. If those efforts are unsuccessful, we could take the case before a judge in a workers’ compensation hearing. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 529-9122 to speak with a member of our staff.