When you are injured in a work place accident, you will probably be eligible for Virginia workers’ compensation. At some point the insurance company will approach you and ask you if you are interested in a settlement. How much should you settle for? Based on my 30 years of practice as a workers’ compensation lawyer, I have compiled what I think are some of the most important factors you need to consider.
FIRST, you need to understand the insurance company will put a value on your case based on what it projects it may need to pay you.
SECOND, if you have a Virginia Workers’ Compensation award, you know you have a life time medical award and thus the insurance company may be looking at paying your medical expenses for the rest of your life.
THIRD, if you have an ongoing award of compensation, the insurance company may be looking at paying you 500 weeks of compensation under Virginia Law.
FOURTH, if your injury is to your eye, arm, finger, toe, hand, arm, foot, or leg, you can usually expect to be paid for any permanent damage to that part of your body.
FIFTH, if your injury is very serious and leaves you totally disabled, then you may have a claim of compensation that could go longer than 500 weeks potentially for the rest of your life.
SIXTH, on the other hand if you have returned to work and you are not incurring any medical expenses and your injury has not given you any permanent work restrictions, then your claim may have little or no value for settlement purposes.
SEVENTH, if you face an expensive operation in the future such as a knee replacement, you would need to consider this in negotiating any settlement.
EIGHTH, many insurance companies in Virginia will not settle a workers’ compensation case and allow you to keep lifetime medical coverage. If you do not have an alternative way to pay medical expenses, this can prevent a settlement.
NINTH, if you are on Social Security Disability or are applying for it, then you need to know the impact a workers’ compensation settlement will have on your Social Security benefits.
TENTH, if you have a third party case arising out of the same accident as your workers’ compensation accident the workers’ compensation carrier may have a lien on your workers’ compensation case.
IN SUMMARY, there are many factors involved in settling a workers’ compensation case; therefore, the best advice is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate any settlement before it is signed. Please review my article: How to Choose the Best Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney or Lawyer. Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law is a specialty field. You would not choose a general practitioner for brain surgery so why would you choose a general practitioner for your workers compensation claim? You just cannot assume every attorney knows the ins and outs of Workers’ Compensation Law.
This may be considered AN ADVERTISEMENT or Advertising Material under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in Virginia. This note is designed for general information only. The information presented in this note should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.