Many workers’ compensation cases are settled for a lump-sum amount. An employer’s insurance carrier may try to make you believe that a settlement is in your best interest. However, only you, with the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney may truly determine the value of your case and the point in time when it is in your best interest to settle and move forward.
The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system offers four primary benefits based on wage loss, medical expenses, specific loss, and death benefits. At the time of settlement, injured workers will typically receive weekly or biweekly wage loss benefits based on a worker’s “Average Weekly Wage” (AWW) and the corresponding benefit rate. Many factors affect the settlement value of a workers’ compensation case. Here’s the first part of a summary:
*The ability of an injured worker to assert and protect his rights
Insurance companies have no obligation to protect anyone’s rights when a workplace injury occurs. It is the sole responsibility of an injured worker to assert and protect his rights. Thus, it is the responsibility of an injured worker to estimate the correct value of a case for settlement purposes. This is a complex analysis involving a level of expertise that most workers simply do not possess.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney has the knowledge and expertise to evaluate and determine all of the important factors affecting settlement. Further, he has the necessary skills to negotiate with an insurance company to maximize the value of a worker’s case and prevent the insurance company from “low-balling” the claim.
Such an analysis requires years of experience in litigating workers’ compensation cases. Many times, a part-time or inexperienced attorney will recover less on behalf of an injured worker. Powell Law has litigated workers’ compensation cases for over a century. To this day, our present roster of attorneys still utilizes the knowledge passed down from prior generations of attorneys in tandem with their own vast, collective experience and expertise.
*The amount a worker is entitled to receive in the present and may be entitled to receive in the future
Any settlement will release the employer’s insurance carrier from its obligation to pay all benefits, including those that the injured worker is presently receiving and those to which he may be entitled in the future. It is possible that an injured worker may retain some medical benefits that would reduce the value of the claim.
Along with the present rate of an injured worker’s benefits, earning potential must be compared to the AWW prior to the injury to determine the likelihood and amount of potential future benefits. Upon analysis, the greater the disparity between earning potential and AWW, the greater is the value of the worker’s case.
Please see later blogs listing other factors that affect the settlement of a workers’ compensation case. Until then, if you have been injured at work or have any questions about workers’ compensation, call today to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.
Since James Powell, Sr., founded Powell Law, our attorneys have represented all types of workers in workers’ compensation cases for 113 years since 1906. Our decades of experience make us the clear and obvious choice for representation in workers’ compensation matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire workers’ compensation claims process. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!