Q What is my workers’ compensation claim worth?
When you must fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, one of your first questions may be how much your claim is worth. Since you are incurring medical expenses and not receiving a weekly paycheck, this is understandably a major concern for you. You will need this money to pay your mounting medical bills and your monthly expenses. While an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may not be able to give you a fixed dollar amount, he can give you an idea of the value of your claim based on a number of factors that could influence your workers’ compensation settlement.
What Factors Could Affect the Value of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Each workers’ compensation claim is unique—even when workers suffer similar injuries. The amount that you could receive in settlement will be based on a number of different factors that are specific to your injuries and treatment. Here are some factors that could influence how much your claim is worth:
- Maximum medical recovery. You need to know what your future medical expenses will be and when you will return to work to calculate all that you are owed. You cannot know this until you recover from your injuries, reach your maximum medical recovery, or receive a final prognosis from your doctor. Waiting until you reach this point in your medical treatment can increase the value of your claim because you can include all your future expenses in your settlement.
- Length of time off work. You are entitled to wage loss benefits for the weeks that you are off work recovering from your injuries. The longer you are unable to work, the larger this portion of your claim will be and your settlement will increase.
- Severity of your injuries. If you suffered more serious injuries that required months of treatment, your claim could be worth more because your medical bills would be higher and your time off work to recover will be longer. There could also be more disputes in your case because of the higher value of your claim.
- Medical treatment. If you need surgery due to your injuries, this could increase how much your claim is worth because surgery in general tends to make a claim more valuable. In addition, if your medical care is more extensive and lengthy, your medical treatment will be greater—increasing how much workers’ compensation benefits you are owed.
- Ability to return to your job. If you are unable to return to your job, this could increase the value of your claim if you must accept a lower wage to change careers. In additional, you could also need vocational rehabilitation and training as part of your workers’ compensation claim.
- Permanent disability. If you suffered a partial permanent disability, you could receive additional workers’ compensation benefits even if you are able to obtain different employment. If you become permanently disabled, this could make your claim more valuable as well.
Do Not Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement Without Consulting an Attorney
You want to be careful not to settle your workers’ compensation claim too quickly because it may be for less than you are entitled to. It is important to keep in mind that your settlement, once completed, will be final, and you would not be able to change it if you later discovered that you were injured more seriously than you thought. In addition, you do not want to enter into any settlement without consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can value your claim and be certain that you do not waive important rights in regards to your claim.
If you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, I am here to investigate your accident and injuries, build a strong claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if this is in your best interests. Take advantage of my offer of a free consultation and call my Morris Plains office to schedule your appointment today.