If you have suffered a workplace injury, you can expect your employer's workers' comp insurance to cover you in a number of ways. For example, you should not have to pay any money to get your medical needs related to the accident paid for, and you may be able to stay home and get paid a portion of your salary while you get better. Workers' comp coverage usually follows a reliable process, but lately, workers are being offered quick settlements. Read on to understand how the process works so that you don't make a big mistake by accepting that offer.
How long will your injury take to heal?
The insurance carrier knows more about your injury than you may think, and they also have some good predictions on when you may be expected to return to work. This information is based on the industry's vast database of past injuries. Being out of work and earning workers' comp wages costs the insurance carrier and it costs your employer, who may be unable to fire you but is short a worker in the meantime.
The traditional process
In most cases, your injury heals and you can return to work in a few weeks, but in some cases, your injury may take longer to heal or it could be more serious. When a worker is not able to return to work in an expected period of time, they are asked to undergo a medical exam to determine more about their condition.
In some cases, you just need more time to recuperate, and in some cases, you will be ordered to return to work after the exam. Unfortunately, some injuries turn out to be permanent, affecting your ability to earn a living for the rest of your life.
The quickie offer to settle
This new method of dealing with on-the-job injuries cuts the above process short. The insurance carrier will extend an offer to settle the case by dangling a lump sum payment in front of the injured worker, and this often happens soon after the injury. You are injured and you are being paid, so what is the problem?
The final result of your injury may not be known at the time the offer is tendered, and accepting this quickie offer could mean accepting a low settlement amount that could turn out to be woefully inadequate to cover you once the full extent of it is known. Some injuries, like a back injury, for instance, may seem to be getting better only to worsen over time. Instead, seek the help of a workers' comp attorney to advise you about what to expect in terms of compensation. Taking the quick buck is almost always a bad idea, so slow down and seek professional help from a workers' comp lawyer.