Settling Your Workers Compensation ClaimTake Great Care in Settling Your Workers Compensation Claim, as the Result May Be Irreversible
“Settlement”, “Full and Final”, “Compromise”… not many phrases can be scarier when it comes to resolving your workers compensation claim. Unfortunately, these terms are thrown around a lot by co-workers, family and friends, which makes the process even more confusing.
The majority of disputed workers compensation claims do NOT end with a formal hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Rather, most cases end with a compromise agreement or settlement. This means the injured worker and the employer and/or workers compensation insurance carrier come to an agreement about the resolution of the claim. The terms of the agreement may include payment of past/future medical expenses and/or penalties (safety violation, delay in payment, bad faith).
The compromise agreement must be in writing and signed by the injured worker and a representative of the employer and/or workers compensation carrier. Next, the agreement is forwarded to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to be approved by one of their judges. If acceptable, the judge will then issue an Order. Once the ALJ has issued this order, the agreement becomes a legally binding contract between the parties. On average, less than one compromise agreement is reopened or reconsidered in a year, once the Order has been issued. Finally, within 21 days of the Order, the workers compensation insurance carrier must send the injured worker his or her money.
The workers compensation carrier will often insist up on a full and final compromise, meaning you will NEVER be able to bring another claim for that injury. It is IMPERATIVE you know exactly what present and future claims you may be giving up. Remember, the workers compensation carrier is NOT obligated to inform you of your legal rights.
The Hawks Quindel team of workers compensation attorneys have negotiated and/or authored hundreds of compromise agreements. If the employer, workers compensation carrier or their attorney is offering you money to close out your claim, keep in mind, a lot of times it IS too good to be true. Contact one of Hawks Quindel’s experienced workers compensation attorneys.