Questions to Ask Before Settling a Maryland Workers’ Comp Claim
When you were injured at work and sought benefits under workers’ compensation, you might not realize that you have options regarding how your claim is resolved. Some information from the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission provides insight. Of the 21,840 workers’ comp claims that are filed every year, 5,210 settle before going to a hearing. This amounts to almost 24 percent of all claims, and the advantages to employees are significant. Not only will you not need to attend a complicated hearing, but you also get certainty knowing the outcome.
However, it is a mistake to settle too early in negotiations, no matter how attractive the offer on the table may be. You might not get an amount sufficient to cover your losses, putting you in further financial strain. Instead of putting your rights at risk, trust a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer to handle settlement discussions. To put things into perspective, consider the following questions.
Are you still treating? If you are still receiving care from physicians and specialists, it is definitely premature to consider setting. You will continue to incur medical bills as long as you are being treated, and you will have to pay out of pocket if you accept a settlement. These agreements include a release of future claims, so your employer will not cover medical costs after the settlement is finalized.
Have you reached MMI? A concept closely related to treatment is your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). If your physician finds that you have reached a level of recovery, and you will not recuperate any further, you may be at MMI. At this point, you could consider a reasonable settlement because additional treatment will be unnecessary and ineffective.
How does the amount compare to benefits? In addition to covering all reasonable and necessary medical treatment, your workers’ comp benefits may include:
- Wage replacement;
- Permanent partial and total disability;
- Temporary partial and total disability; and,
- Death benefits, if you lost a loved one through a workplace accident.
You should conduct an analysis of the benefits you would receive and the amount being offered to settle. When there is a big difference, it is cause for concern.
Did you have a lawyer review the settlement? You should retain counsel to assist with all aspects of a workers’ comp claim, well before you consider settlement. However, if you did not consult with an attorney during previous stages, it is critical to get a legal review prior to signing an agreement. A lawyer will evaluate whether the settlement sufficiently protects your rights and can suggest further negotiations if it is not reasonable.
Our Maryland Workers’ Comp Attorneys Will Protect You in Settlement Discussions
Based on your answers to these questions, settlement may be a mistake and premature. To ensure you get the timing right, count on the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC to negotiate on your behalf. We are prepared to fight for a proper, fair settlement, so please contact our firm to schedule a no-cost case review with an experienced Maryland workers’ comp lawyer.