Should I Accept a Workers’ Compensation Back Injury Settlement?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Workers’ Compensation
Back injuries are common work-related injuries. A back injury can cause chronic pain and limited range of motion. An employee could be out of work for several months or years due to a back injury.
Common on-the-job back injuries include:
- Lower back sprains and strains
- Herniated, slipped, and bulging discs
- Fractured vertebrae
- Neck strain or whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries
Falls and overexertion are common causes of back injuries at work. Repetition, fatigue, working in awkward positions, and blunt force trauma can also lead to back injuries in the workplace.
A back injury can be costly. Therefore, you want to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available for a work-related back injury. Before accepting a settlement, talk with a Clearwater workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure the settlement amount is fair.
Why Did the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company Offer Me a Lump Sum Settlement for My Back Injury?
- Medical benefits that pay reasonable and necessary costs of treatment for your back injury.
- Loss of income benefits that total about 2/3 of your average weekly wages if you cannot work while you heal from a back injury.
- Permanent disability benefits if your back injury causes a permanent impairment or disability.
- Surviving family members can file a claim for death benefits if a back injury results in a worker’s death.
Most employees miss some time from work because of a back injury. Depending on the severity and type of injury, a worker might require rest and physical therapy to heal. Severe back injuries could require surgery and months of intensive therapy to reach maximum medical improvement or MMI.
While you are out of work, you can receive temporary disability benefits. However, when your doctor says you have reached MMI, you must return to work. Some back injuries result in permanent damage.
If you have a permanent impairment, the insurance company might offer you a settlement amount to end the workers’ comp case. A workers’ compensation settlement for a back injury compensates you for the impairment in one lump sum instead of future payments. It also releases your employer and the workers’ comp insurance company from any future liability.
Should I Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement for My Back Injury?
Before you accept an offer and release the insurance company and your employer from any future liability, you need to ensure that the settlement amount is fair. Since you cannot seek any more payments after you accept the settlement offer, you want to maximize the amount you receive now.
A Clearwater workers’ compensation attorney can help you evaluate the settlement offer by considering all relevant factors, including:
- Is your back injury expected to remain the same or worsen over time?
- What is the extent of your disability or impairment?
- The amount of unpaid medical bills
- Does the settlement amount compensate you fully for your losses?
- Are you agreeing to accept a lower amount than you would receive in weekly benefits?
- Will accepting the lump sum payment prevent you from working?
Accepting a lump sum settlement means you do not need to continue treatment with company doctors or deal with the workers’ compensation insurance company again. However, it also means you are responsible for any financial consequences your back injury could cause in the future.
Determining If a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Amount Is Fair
As with any settlement, many factors impact the value of your workers’ compensation claim. Each back injury case is unique and personal factors can significantly impact the claim’s value.
Factors that impact how much your workers’ comp back injury claim is worth include:
- The severity of your back injury
- The degree of impairment or disability
- The anticipated cost of future medical bills and rehabilitation therapies
- The anticipated cost of future personal care and nursing care
- Whether you can work in any capacity and how much you could earn
- The amount you earned before your back injury
Your attorney will use evidence to negotiate a back injury settlement. The more substantial the evidence in your case, the better negotiating position you have for a settlement. Your lawyer may recommend hiring a medical specialist to evaluate your back injury to strengthen your case.
It is important to proceed with a settlement cautiously. If you settle your case too soon, you could receive less than you deserve for a back injury. Seeking advice from your physician and a workers’ comp attorney is the best way to know if you should accept a settlement amount or continue receiving weekly benefits.
Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Chances of a Fair Workers’ Compensation Settlement for a Back Injury
The steps you take after a workplace accident can improve or hurt your chances of successfully settling your workers’ comp case. First, you need to report the injury to your employer immediately. Second, seek immediate medical treatment from a physician approved by your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Follow the doctor’s treatment plan. Do not miss doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions. Failing to follow a treatment plan will hurt your case.
Do not give a recorded statement or answer questions without legal counsel. The insurance company might ask questions to get you to make statements it can use later to lower your settlement amount.
Keep careful records throughout your workers’ comp case. Track all costs and expenses related to your back injury. It can also help to write down details about how the back injury impacts your life and ability to work.
Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for a free consultation. An attorney will explain your legal rights and the steps you should take to protect your best interests.
A lawyer can help you if you need to request an independent medical examination or a second opinion. Lawyers also monitor deadlines for claims, appeals, and lawsuits in case the company tries to drag out the claim past the deadline so you cannot take any further action.
Contact the Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Lawyers At Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg workers’ compensation law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,