Since 1956, we have protected workers’ rights from the start of their claims — and after their workers’ compensation benefits have been denied — and caution California employees from deciding the worth of their claims without speaking with an experienced attorney first.
Here’s why: Although there are advantages to settling a California workers’ compensation claim, disadvantages could change the employee’s access to benefits. Here, we explore both.
What are the Pros and Cons of Settling a California Workers’ Compensation Claim
A workers’ compensation settlement occurs when a California employee accepts their employer’s insurance company’s offer of compensation to resolve their claim.
The pros of settling a workers’ compensation claim in California may include, but are not limited to:
- The claim takes less time than waiting for it to be reviewed by an administrative law judge, which lessens the stress of preparing for and testifying at a hearing.
- The employee can collect a guaranteed payment, either structured or in a lump sum, which is uncertain when a judge decides the claim.
The cons of settling a workers’ compensation claim in California may include, but are not limited to:
- The insurance company will always offer a lesser amount than the claim is worth.
- A lesser amount typically means giving up rights to future medical care or provisions, which means additional expenses and long-term costs may not be covered.
- The settlement may be spent quickly in a lump sum, jeopardizing the employee’s financial stability.
- Settlement agreements can be complex, which means misunderstandings or disputes may arise over the terms and conditions later — when it is too late.
The reality is settling means closing your workers’ compensation claim.
Accepting a settlement can be risky if the injured worker is unsure about the long-term implications of their medical condition, which can lead to significant regret if their situation deteriorates unexpectedly.
It is essential to have an explicit, written agreement in place to avoid potential problems later. Partnering with a skilled California workers’ compensation attorney will help protect your legal rights and options from the start of your claim, even when a settlement is the best option.
At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, we have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs.
Contact us today to learn more.