Accepting your first workers’ compensation offer will depend mainly on the extent of your work-related injuries or illness, how much your employer’s insurance company is willing to pay, and what expenses have (or have not) been considered in the settlement offer.
Other factors that could influence your decision include:
- You have concerns your illness or injuries could become worse over time
- You are unsure about what rights you will waive if you agree to settle
- Your circumstances make it difficult to anticipate the cost of future expenses
- You are unsure of the current value of your claim
- You are considering an additional lawsuit for your injuries or illness
While the claim process itself is fairly straightforward, it can be challenging to know if you should accept your first workers’ compensation offer. Seeking legal advice from an attorney with experience in this type of claim may be beneficial.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can review your case in detail, help you understand your legal options, and check whether the settlement offer is comprehensive and meets your current and ongoing needs.
Benefits Provided by Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
Reporting your accident or illness to your employer begins the claim process. You should do this as soon as you are able within 90 days, or you could forfeit your right to pursue compensation. However, there are exceptions, such as if your injuries prevent you from making a report within this time frame.
If your employer accepts your claim, you will likely receive benefits to cover the cost of your related medical expenses plus two-thirds of your average weekly pay, according to the Social Security Administration. You can claim these benefits in most cases, irrespective of who was responsible for the accident.
What does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
You should be eligible to receive payment for lost wages if you are unable to work for seven days or longer. If your injuries mean you need to recover for a significantly longer time, you could be entitled to temporary total disability payments until you return to work.
If you are unable to return to work, you could qualify for total disability payments that again cover your medical costs, and pay wages at the same rate as with temporary disability payment but for a longer period, and for life in some circumstances.
Wrongful Death Damages
If the injury or illness results in your death, your surviving dependents may receive compensation in lieu of lost income. If you’ve lost a loved one in a work-related accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
Payments are usually made as a lump sum or a structured settlement plan, so you would receive a weekly amount, rather than a one-off payment. This can be beneficial if you are also in receipt of security disability benefits and are worried about the tax implications of having a large settlement.
A workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to further help you if you have questions or concerns about how you will be paid and can help you restructure your payment plan with your employer and their insurance company.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements and Trade-Offs
It is essential to understand that you are bound to the terms of a settlement offer once you agree to it. According to the Congressional Research Service, there is usually a trade-off where you receive financial awards to cover expenses and lost wages but waive your right to pursue any further compensation from your employer.
While this is acceptable in some situations where it is unlikely you will need any further treatment, for example, it may not be the best option if you sustain serious injuries resulting in permanent disability. Insurance companies in these cases typically try to settle quickly. They will often offer a settlement figure that does not take into account the full extent of your future medical needs.
If you have any doubts or questions, it can be a good idea to seek a legal opinion outside of your employer and their insurance company. Many law practices offer a free consultation with no obligation on your part.
Seeking Further Advice About Your Workers’ Compensation Offer
Worrying about all of the factors involved with a claim and dealing with insurance companies may seem overwhelming, especially when you are trying to recover from injuries or illness. A workers’ compensation lawyer can take on that legal burden for you.
The team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers has been helping clients with workers’ compensation claims for more than 40 years. We will help you explore the most suitable options in terms of compensation for your circumstances and make sure your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly.
Depending on your situation, you could also be entitled to file an additional lawsuit for your injuries or illness and recover financial awards in addition to workers’ compensation for related losses such as pain and suffering.
We examine every detail of your claim and help you understand your legal options once you’ve received a workers’ compensation offer. Call us or fill out our online form for a free case review today. We are here to help and happy to answer your questions.