Should I Settle My North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Skilled lawyers provide practical advice and effective representation for seriously injured workers
If you have been seriously injured on the job and have been collecting workers’ compensation benefits, the insurer may propose a settlement. Often referred to as a “clincher,” this settlement would resolve your workers’ comp claim for all time with a single lump-sum payment or a limited number of regularly scheduled payments. When your employer’s insurance company approaches you to discuss a clincher, it’s time to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether a settlement is in your interest and, if so, what amount of total compensation is fair. The knowledgeable attorneys at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban P.C. have the experience to guide you through this critical phase of your workers’ comp claim to a successful conclusion.
Major considerations when negotiating a workers’ comp settlement
Your employer’s insurance company would not offer a workers’ compensation settlement unless they anticipated they could save money by doing so. That means there’s a chance they’ll wind up paying you less in a settlement than they would on a week-to-week basis. Of course, there’s also a chance you could wind up with more through a settlement than you would through weekly payments if, for example, you passed away prematurely. And your choice to accept a lump-sum settlement may make sense if you are carrying high-interest debt you could pay off.
But before you decide what to do and whether the settlement amount is fair, you must consider several factors:
- Is the full extent of your injury known? You must be able to accurately project your future medical needs. If you settle too early on the basis of an optimistic prognosis that doesn’t pan out, you cannot go back to the insurer and demand more money for medical expenses. Settling before you reach maximum medical improvement is rarely a good idea, because the disability rating you receive at that point greatly affects the value of your claim.
- What would the total amount of all your benefits be over the life of your claim? You must make an accurate tally of wage replacement benefits, total disability, and partial disability payments. A lump-sum offer that looks huge can shrink quickly when you compare it to the total of your projected weekly benefits.
- Will a workers’ comp settlement affect your eligibility for other benefits? A lump-sum payment from workers’ comp can adversely affect what you can collect from Social Security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, and private long- or short-term disability policies.
Our attorneys work diligently to give you the total picture of your benefits and how a settlement would affect them. We explain your various options, including the possibility of settling one area of benefits but not others. For example, you might want to settle your partial disability benefit in one payment but leave your medical benefits active until you are reasonably certain about your future needs. When you retain Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban P.C., you get our full commitment to serving your best interests.
Contact our North Carolina lawyers to discuss a workers’ compensation settlement
If you have the opportunity to settle a workers’ comp claim, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban P.C. can protect you from negotiation pitfalls and help you get the full compensation you deserve. Call us at (888) 351-1038 or contact us online for a free consultation.