There are precise calculations that are often involved when determining workers’ compensation benefits. Unlike regular injury cases, workers’ compensation cases only allow for wage loss benefits and medical benefits to be recovered by an injured worker. There is no recovery for pain and suffering or other intangible losses. It is best to seek help from a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your legal options. Experienced attorneys who handle these cases daily are accustomed to what the judges award in certain situations based on the employee’s average weekly wage and work restrictions.
Due to the familiarity that the judges and attorneys have with workers’ compensation cases, most cases settle. Judges are well aware of the issues in workers’ compensation claims and might pressure lawyers to resolve the case on their own and settle. Reach out to a skilled attorney to learn about the process to recover workers’ compensation benefits in Pascagoula.
The term “settle” often provokes an objection from injured employees because they want the maximum recovery for their injuries. We completely agree with this and always prepare cases to go to full evidentiary hearing and appeal if necessary. We take many, many cases to trial every year and will do whatever is necessary to protect injured workers. However, there are many reasons for injured workers to settle cases.
Settling is often better for the employee because the case will be resolved sooner, and they will not have to interact with the insurance company or its lawyers in a court setting. Many injured workers just want to “move on” with their life. Resolving a case by settling can be a long process, but it often brings relief to the employee and compensation for their injuries.
The settlement process can be simple but is often a hassle due to the lack of cooperation the insurance companies have with litigants. The attorney might discuss the case with the judge and the other lawyers involved in the case and go back and forth with numbers that could work and that the injured employee might agree. The injured employee has final decision-making authority, but their lawyer will likely give advice about what one might obtain in a hearing versus in a settlement.
An employee should consider entering into a workers’ compensation settlement in Pascagoula if the settlement amounts are appropriate. Settling is often more favorable than a trial. Workers’ compensation hearings can be rather straightforward; the parties and their attorneys appear in court and meet with the judge with a court reporter and typically only one or two witnesses for the workers’ compensation claim.
The briefing after the trial can be more difficult than the trial itself. The attorneys may request to write their own briefs to help the judge issue a decision, which can be a time-consuming effort. Judges also tend to take their time when writing opinions, and it could be several months after a hearing before an opinion is rendered, which can be frustrating for a client.
The hearing process can be uncertain and make injured employees anxious as they await results. Settling can be a more favorable option if the amount is fair; however, if an employer, insurance carrier, or opposing attorney is unwilling to pay the injured employee an appropriate amount, hearings and trials may be necessary.
Employee benefits will likely be cut off immediately after settling. The employer and carrier must provide compensation and treatment up until the date that the settlement agreement is finalized and signed by the judge. The judge and a commissioner must approve a settlement; workers’ compensation commissioners are people who sit above judges, review settlements and issue approvals of settlements.
All workers’ compensation judges and commissioners are located in Jackson, Mississippi, and they will approve the settlements that they deem appropriate. If they deem a settlement inappropriate, they may hold a conference with the lawyers and request that they change the compensation, medical treatment provisions, or any other terms of the settlement to make it agreeable.
Once a settlement is finalized, the employee will have to pay for medical treatment and daily living costs with their own check.
If an injured employee decides that they want to settle, their attorney will work to make sure that the settlement obligates the employer and their insurance company to continue to provide medical treatment up until settlement or even after, if medical treatment is part of the settlement. There are also provisions that we put in place to protect social security benefits and medicare benefits. An experienced attorney will always go through the settlement agreement in detail and ensure that the appropriate amounts are paid in a timely manner.
In certain circumstances, an attorney might not include medical benefits in settlements, which would only be wage settlements. Attorneys should always make sure that language in those cases provides that the employer has to continue to provide medical treatment. Insurance company lawyers are crafty in their drafting of releases, so good workers’ compensation attorneys will verify that there are not any limitations on their liability.
Payment of a rating can come about in scheduled injuries, meaning those injuries that deal with the extremities (fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms, legs), or a formula based on the percentage that is assigned. It is a very strict formula and does not deviate much. It is only for wages and compensation based on those wages, and it sets out a certain number of weeks for the extremity.
It is straightforward, and the employer must automatically pay these benefits without prompting from the commission or lawyer. They often comply because it relieves them of liability later on if they do not pay those amounts. Ratings on other parts of the body, like the neck, back, or head, are a bit different. The ratings often do not have many similarities.
The most important parts of the ratings are the limitations that are assigned, the restrictions, and whether that person can do their job or not. For neck, back, and head injuries, the most important parts are what their occupation was prior to their job-related injury and what their abilities are post-injury, and the physician will assign those ratings. There will also be a percentage, but for such injuries, it is not that meaningful to the final result.
Employers are required to report any injuries that result in lost wages or lost time from work to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Since the process to recover workers’ compensation benefits in Pascagoula can be extremely complex, it is best to retain the services of a seasoned attorney. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how an attorney could help.