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Florida workers’ compensation settlements are always voluntary. A judge cannot force your employer to settle your claim. However, the possibility of settlement is explored in almost every workers’ comp case.
What is a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
When you settle a workers’ compensation claim, you normally give up your right to ALL workers’ compensation benefits. You exchange your rights to medical treatment, wage loss/disability payments and vocational rehabilitation for a lump sum of money.
Why Do Workers Settle Their Claims?
Every workers’ compensation claim is different. Workers decide to settle their claims for a wide variety of reasons. A worker’s medical condition may have stabilized, and a lump sum settlement may be in his best interest.
Sometimes, settlement may be a better option that taking a case to trial. A trial always involves risk—you will either win or lose. When a case is disputed, legal and factual issues may make winning at trial difficult. Accepting a lump sum settlement guarantees that the worker will receive some compensation.
At Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, our goal is to get our clients the best possible result. We will evaluate your case and create a settlement strategy that is in your best interest.
When Should I Settle my Claim?
If you have a lawyer, you can settle your case at any time. But, timing can be important.
If you need a lot of expensive medical treatment, like surgery, you may want to wait to settle. Once you settle, your employer will no longer pay for your medical care.
If you are unrepresented, you can only settle your workers’ compensation claim under certain circumstances. You can settle if:
- You are at maximum medical improvement (MMI)
- Or, your employer disputes the claim.
However, we do not encourage people to settle a case without legal help.
How Do You Settle a Case?
Either you or your employer can start settlement negotiations. But, it is common for injured workers to make the first settlement demand. Your employer will consider your demand and send back a settlement offer. It is common for negotiations to go back and forth, until a settlement is agreed upon.
If you are represented by Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, you will sign a series of settlement documents (once there is a settlement agreement). We will submit the documents for a judge’s approval. You do not have to go to a settlement hearing. When you are represented, your settlement should be processed quickly and efficiently.
If you do not have a lawyer, you will have a settlement hearing. You will also have to complete a series of forms. The judge may not approve your settlement if it is unfair. However, the judge’s review does not guarantee that you maximized your claim’s settlement value.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Settle my Claim?
Many workers decide to hire a lawyer for settlement negotiations. To successfully settle a claim, you must understand the law, medical evidence and settlement values. You also must comply with a variety of state and federal laws.
An experienced lawyer will assure that all settlement requirements are met. The settlement process is also easier (and faster) if you are represented.
What is my Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
Again, every claim and every worker are different. There isn’t a simple calculation that sets out settlement value.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton perform a detailed analysis of your case. We will build a settlement strategy that addresses your right to wage loss, ongoing medical care and your personal goals. We want to get you the largest settlement possible.
Contact Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton for a free consultation. We look forward to working with you, and resolving your workers’ compensation claim.