Shady Lawyer

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Workers Comp Settlement – Why Hiring an Attorney Can Increase Your Odds of Obtaining a Higher Settlement

3 min read

If you’re offered a Workers Comp Settlement, it is usually based on standards set by your state. Hiring an attorney can improve your odds of obtaining a higher settlement.

Insurance companies rely on many factors to decide how much to offer. Your lawyer’s, mediator’s, or judge’s opinions can also influence the amount you receive.

Lost Wages

Workers’ compensation is meant to replace lost wages incurred from injury-related time away from work. Injured employees are typically eligible to receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage. Overtime, bonuses and other supplemental payments are often included in the calculation of a person’s average weekly wage (AWW).

A lawyer can review your past pay stubs to help establish your AWW. This is the foundation of any settlement. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, a workers’ comp lawyer can help ensure that all relevant factors are taken into account to make sure you get the maximum possible amount of money in your settlement.

Calculating lost wages can be challenging for freelancers, non-salaried employees, and those who rely on non-standard forms of compensation, like performance bonuses. However, a workers’ compensation attorney can help by using state law and previous case rulings to support your claim.

Medical Expenses

Whether you have a minor or major injury or illness, it is important to have your medical expenses covered. This is typically a large portion of your settlement, and includes doctor visits, hospital bills, medication, and surgery. The amount of time that your condition will keep you from working also plays a role in the overall amount. If you opt for a lump sum one-time payout, you’ll need to know that you will waive your right to reopen the claim in the future. A skilled workers’ comp lawyer can help you set a proper MSA (Medical Surgeries Account), get it approved, and manage the account to avoid problems in the future.

Work injuries often reduce your income. This could mean that you can no longer perform your current job or that you must switch to a different position that pays less. Compensation for these lost wages should be included in your award. A workers’ compensation settlement can also prevent creditors from placing liens on your award or garnishing the money that is owed to you.

Vocational Training

Most people know that workers’ compensation pays for medical bills and a portion of the wages you lost while your injury kept you from working. But not everyone realizes that it also pays for vocational training, especially if you sustain a serious and permanent work-related injury.

Vocational training is career-focused education that equips young people with in-demand trade skills and helps established professionals expand their knowledge base. Unlike college-level courses that often require extensive course-taking and a degree, vocational training is practical.

The goal of workers’ comp vocational rehabilitation is to help you return to work with a wage that is as close to what you were earning prior to your injury. However, the Commission only orders the insurer to pay for retraining and educational services if they can demonstrate that they have exhausted all efforts to place you in an employment opportunity within your remaining functional capacity. This can be a complex process that requires expert legal representation.

Legal Fees

As with all workers’ compensation matters, attorney fees are regulated by state law. In general, you won’t be asked to pay any attorneys out of pocket, and all fees are paid out of your settlement winnings. This arrangement is designed to discourage insurance companies from fighting claims by claiming things like the injury was pre-existing or did not occur on the job.

In addition to legal fees, your lawyer may need to pay filing and copy costs in order to advance your case. Your lawyer should explain these charges at the time you retain them and should have a fee agreement with you detailing the types of costs and amounts charged.

It is important to consult an experienced workers’ comp attorney to ensure that any settlement is fair and that you receive the maximum amount possible. An attorney can help you navigate complex issues that can arise, such as whether you have reached your authorized treating physician’s maximum medical improvement.