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If you are hurt at work and have to rely on workers' compensation insurance benefits, you may be surprised when you get an offer. Offers to settle usually come later, after you have been out of work for some time. Read on and find out why this quicker way of doing things may not be to the worker's advantage.
The Process and How It Usually Works
After an injury or illness, workers may file a claim and be paid some initial benefits. At this level, workers can expect to have 100% of their medical expenses paid. That means payment for doctor's visits, surgery costs, hospitalizations, medications, and more. If the worker is ordered to stay home and recuperate, they will earn a partial disability salary while doing so. While that salary is only about 66.6% of their usual pay, it does help.
The next phase of workers' comp coverage consists of a medical evaluation known as an independent medical exam (IME). The IME is aimed at workers that have been unable to go back to work in a timely manner and that may be suspected of having a permanent injury. Permanent injuries mean the worker is unable to work at their previous job and may not be able to work at any job. That status is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI).
After the MMI ruling, workers may be offered a settlement. They should know what to expect in terms of their medical condition and their working potential. The settlement offered takes into account how much, if any, work can be performed by the worker and how much more medical treatment they will need. It's advisable for workers at this point to speak to a workers' compensation lawyer for help with the settlement negotiations.
Cutting The Process Short
Unfortunately, there is a trend to offer hurt workers early settlements. The settlement offer may come mere weeks after an injury and may fail to take into account the full ramifications of the injury. Workers who have been recently hurt may be in a vulnerable position and already feeling a financial pinch. If the true state of a worker's health can be determined early (with a fair IME), then the settlement offer may be fair. The only way to find out is to get a workers' comp lawyer to look at the settlement offer over and give you advice. You may only be receiving a portion of what you deserve. Once you accept it, you cannot go back and get more money later. Don't be hasty – talk to a lawyer that is on your side. Lawyers found at sites such as http://mcmullenochs.com are more than happy to help.Share