If you get injured on the job, it will not just cause you pain and suffering. It can also disrupt your daily routines. Your difficulties can even escalate when your injury results in a permanent disability. Things may never be the same as your pre-injury life, especially when it comes to your work.
Fortunately, you can seek fair compensation for your injuries to ease your troubles. But this task can also be a bit burdensome. You might want to choose the best way to settle your workers’ compensation claim.
What are my options?
After establishing the level of your permanent disability (PD) in your workers’ compensation claim, you will typically reach a settlement or receive an award for benefits. You have options for resolving your permanent disability claim:
- Lump sum settlement, or compromise and release (C&R): This option grants you control over your medical care. It provides a one-time payment for permanent disability.
- Stipulation (stip) settlement: This includes both a monetary sum and future medical treatment, with payments spread over time.
- Findings & award (F&A): This is a proceeding before a workers’ compensation administrative law judge for a permanent disability award. It typically comprises a monetary sum and future medical treatment.
Note that these are still subject to approval by a workers’ compensation administrative law judge.
Which is the best option?
When it comes to settling your workers’ compensation claim, time matters. If you agree to a stip or receive an F&A, your PD benefits will be spread over a fixed number of weeks, while a C&R offers a lump sum payment. If you have a permanent total disability (PTD), you may be entitled to lifelong payments. It is important to note that PD payments often commence before determining the exact PD amount. This is because the claims administrator makes estimated payments based on the doctor’s assessment of permanent disability. Once determined, they will pay any difference between the estimated and actual PD amount.
However, while these options can lead to a faster resolution, it is essential to be cautious about the potential undervaluation of your claim. Insurance companies might offer settlements lower than what you might be entitled to if you pursued your case through a formal hearing or trial.
Dealing with a permanent work-related disability can create uncertainty about your financial future. Your situation may require specific provisions to accommodate your recovery. It would be best to negotiate terms that meet your individual needs, such as the payment schedule, medical treatment options or vocational rehabilitation support.