Most workers in Louisiana can count on workers’ compensation benefits while on the job. Their employers should carry coverage that offers both medical benefits for work-related health issues and also disability coverage in case workers require a leave of absence.
Most applicants will require medical coverage and potentially short-term disability benefits. Others may have ongoing medical expenses and lasting income limitations related to their work-acquired medical condition.
Those with more profound expenses and losses may consider negotiating a settlement rather than continuing to claim benefits a little at a time over many years. If you intend to employ this approach, it is crucial that you protect yourself during this process.
Learn about the rules that apply to settlements
Some workers will never be able to go back to their job. They may need permanent, total disability benefits because they can’t work at all. On the other hand, they might need partial disability benefits because they can work a low-paid job but nothing that compensates them as well as their former line of employment.
You need to understand what you could receive through workers’ compensation and what a settlement means for your rights. Once you approve a lump sum settlement, you typically can’t claim future losses even if you didn’t understand how big the bills would be when you accepted the settlement.
Establish a realistic estimate of what the condition will cost you
Did you know that spinal cord injuries result in tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical treatment annually for the rest of someone’s life, even in situations where the injury is partial and still allows for some motor function and sensation below the site of the injury?
To determine if a settlement amount is appropriate given your potential losses, you first have to create a reasonable estimate of the long-term financial losses that you will suffer because of your medical condition. Looking at the lifetime treatment expenses and also the lifetime value of your lost wages and benefits will help you determine if a settlement offer is appropriate.
Recognize that negotiation is key
With few exceptions, insurance companies tend to offer a lower settlement amount initially than they would ultimately pay to the claimant. Their initial settlement offer is typically a starting point for negotiations, which makes it important that you keep your focus on the long-term impact of your injuries and the true costs that you will experience because of your medical condition.
Going the right approach when considering a workers’ compensation settlement can help you avoid an unfavorable resolution to your claim.