What happens if I don’t accept a settlement offer made by the insurance company in my workers’ compensation case?
Four Benefits Workers’ Compensation ProvidesIn every workers’ compensation case, once it has been determined that you have sustained a work related injury, you as the injured worker are entitled to pursue four main benefits:
- Temporary disability – 2/3 of your earnings at no more than the maximum rate for up to 104 weeks while you are recovering from your work injury and unable to work in full-time capacity.
- Medical treatment – lifetime treatment that is reasonably medically necessary consistent with the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule to help cure or relieve you from the effects of your industrial injury.
- Permanent disability – a level of compensation measured for the impairment of your injured condition and the loss of your ability to do some types of work.
- Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher – In the event that you cannot return to your prior work due to your injury, you may be entitled to a voucher to assist you in retraining for other types of work.
These are the primary benefits that a workers’ compensation court can award or enforce. However, while not obligated to do so, it is not uncommon for an insurance company to offer you a lump sum of money in lieu of you maintaining the right to these other benefits. This is known as a Compromise and Release (“C&R”). It is important to know that no C&R will proceed unless two factors occur; (1) the insurance carrier makes a C&R offer, and (2) you accept the C&R offer. This comes down to whether both parties can reach a meeting of the minds on the value of a specific claim.
An insurance carrier is not obligated to make you a C&R offer nor even a reasonable one. However, it often does so if it thinks it will save it money in the long run. You are not obligated to accept any C&R offer and may continue to receive the benefits outline above. In evaluating any C&R offer, our team will assist and advise you as to the strengths and weaknesses of any C&R offer made. Yet, at the end of the day, you make the decision whether or not to accept a C&R. No one can force you to accept a C&R offer, not even the judge.
In the event that the parties cannot reach a C&R, then you maintain your right to the benefits described above, and in the event a dispute arises as to the scope of those benefits, then either party may seek relief at Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.