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Maximizing your workers’ compensation settlement

Before the workers’ compensation settlement

One of the most important things to note is that your workers’ compensation settlement may not be a “settlement” at all. In most cases what is referred to as a settlement is actually a Permanent Partial Disability award and in part it is the end product of the instructions you followed after your accident in conjunction with the efficacy of the treatment you received. The treatment you are able to receive may not return you to 100% of the ability you had prior to the injury, and that is where the term “Permanent Partial Disability” or PPD, comes into play. However, if you do have permanent impairment or disability, but you did a thorough job of checking every box, the likelihood of you getting a quality settlement or PPD award is in your favor. However, if you decided to “wing it,” you could be in for a rude awakening when that time comes around. 

Reporting the accident

Let’s start from square one! You’ve just been involved in an accident at your workplace. While some may want to avoid the paperwork or ruffling any feathers at work, you need to file an accident report with your employer as soon as possible. Legally your employer can not retaliate against you filing an accident report, so don’t let that deter you. Your accident report is crucial for you to receive workers” compensation benefits. Filing a workers’ comp claim 

Filing a workers’ comp claim

Along with filing an accident report with your employer, you’ll need to see a doctor to document the injury, restrictions, and care needed to recover. This doctor’s visit doesn’t just benefit your health, it also supplies the required information to file your workers’ comp claim. Do not skip or wait too long after your incident to see a doctor. Doing so could weaken the credibility of your case. 

Getting the proper medical attention 

Before it’s time to start thinking about PPD awards or “settlements” the other parties involved in your workers’ compensation claim may be trying to see if your claim can be denied or suspended by fact-checking your situation.

Common fact-checking areas (Workers’ Comp claims)

  1. Your doctor is qualified to assess your injury
  2. The diagnosis aligns with your symptoms 
  3. Other factors outside of work caused the injury 
  4. You’re following the medical instructions to recover
  5. There’s no deception about the severity of your injury

Why are we telling you this? To prove that getting proper medical attention and following your doctor’s orders is a significant part of the workers’ comp claim process. If statements regarding your injury contradict themselves or your medical examination was delayed after your injury, it will be easier to discredit your claim. 

For example, if your doctor tells you that you can’t put weight on both of your legs without the use of crutches, you need to be sure that every time you leave your home, you are using crutches. If you are seen or photographed not using your crutches, that could negatively impact your case. The bottom line is that you need to listen to your doctor and listen to your body. Don’t do more than either of them are telling you to do. Sometimes life makes it difficult because one way or another, the groceries have to get put in the car – but not only can this potentially cause medical setbacks, if you are being surveilled, the camera doesn’t see you laying in bed for two days because you overdid it with the groceries; it only sees you heaving those groceries into the trunk. Listen to your doctor and listen to your body. 

Don’t “settle” for your workers’ compensation settlement 

Partnering with a workers’ compensation attorney is highly recommended if you want your settlement to work toward your best interests. When working with an attorney, there are a few mistakes to avoid so they can be the best advocate possible for you. 

5 Mistakes to Avoid (Workers’ Comp settlements)

  1. Make sure you hire a qualified attorney that you feel comfortable communicating with. If you don’t see eye-to-eye with your attorney, you could be making the experience harder on yourself. No thanks!  
  2. Don’t lie to your attorney about any aspect of your case. They need to know the whole truth, or they will not be prepared to represent you fully. 
  3. Don’t assume that the workers’ compensation adjuster will correctly determine your rate of pay. You’ll likely need your attorney’s help negotiating your time loss or wage replacement figure.
  4. Refrain from signing or recording statements for medical authorization for insurance companies without your attorney’s approval. Those insurance companies can be tricky! 
  5. If you return to work for light duty, do not attempt tasks beyond your doctor’s restrictions (bring a copy of the most recent APF form your doctor completed so you can refer to it when explaining why you can’t do a task your employer asks you to do). You don’t want anything to worsen your injury or give your employer a reason to dismiss you from light-duty work before you’re ready. 

Be prepared and protected to get the most from your workers’ compensation settlement

Ready to get started? Don’t leave the fate of your health and future in the hands of those who aren’t looking out for you. Contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at Carlisle + Byers to better understand how to get the most out of your workers’ comp settlement. If you’re not sure what to do next, just set up a free consultation with Rich or Chris today.

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