Is it a good idea to settle a workers' compensation claim in Maryland?
Workers’ compensation statutes are set up to help a person who’s been injured on the job by providing benefits intended to assist with recovery and returning to work. Under Maryland workers’ comp laws, you would be paid weekly benefits to cover such losses as medical bills, lost wages, and job training. However, if your injuries are severe and you cannot return to your job, you may qualify for disability payments. While these funds are also distributed weekly, it’s possible you can negotiate a lump sum settlement with your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company. Here are a few things to consider when discussing options with your workers’ comp lawyer.
Your weekly benefits will be terminated.
If you settle your workers’ compensation claim, you will no longer receive weekly benefits from your employer’s insurance company. When you accept an insurer’s offer, you’re agreeing to a full and final settlement of all claims, including current and future medical benefits. Some injuries can continue to plague your health for many years, and the lump sum settlement amount to accept may not cover them. This is why you need to fully understand what it means to settle your workers’ comp case.
You’ll need approval from the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The Commission governs all matters related to workers’ comp in the State of Maryland, including claims that are resolved via settlement between an employee and employer’s insurance company. The Commission must approve all settlement agreements and stipulations, and will review the lump sum payment in comparison to weekly benefits payments. You will need to file certain paperwork and documentary proof along with the right forms in order for the Commission to approve a settlement arrangement.
You must understand how to calculate the value of a workers’ comp settlement.
Unlike other personal injury cases, a workers’ comp claim does not include amounts for pain and suffering. Calculating the value of a settlement requires you to consider two primary factors.
1. An Estimate of Future Benefits: Your settlement will incorporate all the benefits you may receive in the future, so you need to accurately estimate what these amounts will be. Typically, you would look at medical documentation and eligibility. As an example, assume your doctors and the insurance company’s medical experts agree that your disability would last two more years. It would be a mistake to agree to a lump sum settlement that amounts to less than the
two years you’re entitled to by Maryland law.
2. The Likelihood of Receiving Benefits: If there is a chance that you will recover in a short amount of time, you may not qualify for workers’ comp benefits at all. In this case, you might consider opting for a lump sum settlement because that amount could potentially be larger than the benefits provided by state law.
It may be possible to settle your permanent disability workers’ comp benefits in Maryland, but it’s important to note that the arrangement is not reversible. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your options and decide whether settlement is the right move for you. If you receive benefits and are considering a lump sum settlement, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss your case in more detail.
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