If you’re an employee hurt at work, you have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Once you’ve filed a workers’ comp claim, the settlement must be approved before you can collect your money. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer from John Foy & Associates can advise you on how long it takes to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement.
In addition to providing helpful legal counsel, an attorney from our team can also fight for the benefits you need to afford medical treatment and move past your injuries. No matter how long it takes to settle your claim, we’ll work tirelessly to give you the results and peace of mind you deserve.
How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement for Workers’ Comp?
From filing your claim to having the money in your hands, the entire settlement process can take around 12-18 months, depending on the details of your case and whether or not you have legal representation. If you do not have a lawyer, a permanent disability, and don’t have to negotiate for your settlement, the timeline will likely be around 12-14 months.
With a lawyer, the settlement process typically takes around 17-18 months. If you and your lawyer negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement, it can take around 20% longer to settle, but there’s a much better chance that you’ll get a favorable outcome.
Negotiation is the process by which attorneys seek more money than the initial offer, which is rarely enough to compensate you for your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses.
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How Does Negotiating a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Work?
When you bring a workers’ compensation case after a work-related injury, the insurance company might pay medical bills and disability. You can choose to accept the offer, or you can seek a settlement to cover more of your damages.
To reach a fair settlement, you must negotiate with the insurance company. It’s best to have a workers’ compensation lawyer to help with this, as it’s very difficult to go up against workers’ comp insurance companies alone. You will need to work with an attorney who has experience handling workers’ comp claims and understands what goes into them.
Steps in a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
When determining how long it will take to negotiate your workers’ compensation settlement, it’s helpful to consider the steps your attorney must take to reach a settlement agreement. Here’s what they must do to get the workers’ comp benefits you need to rebuild your life after a workplace accident:
- Draft a demand letter: First, your attorney must draft a letter to the workers’ compensation insurance company. The letter, which you must approve, will include the settlement amount required to settle the case.
- Review the counteroffer: When the insurance company receives the letter, they will make a counteroffer. Your attorney can review the offer and determine if it’s large enough to cover your medical care costs, replace the weekly wage losses you’ve incurred, and pay for any future expenses you’re facing.
- Negotiate: If the initial offer doesn’t meet your needs, your lawyer will negotiate back and forth with the insurance company. If the negotiation is successful, you will soon receive your payment.
How the SBWC Review Process Works
Before receiving your settlement, it must be sent to and approved by the State Board of Workers Compensation (SBWC). The settlement will be reviewed during a workers’ compensation hearing, where a hearing officer or judge will review the settlement, make sure you understand it, and ask if you agree with the amount.
Your settlement may be rejected if the officer or judge believes you aren’t being awarded a large enough settlement. You will need to make sure you approve of the settlement amount, as you normally can’t make changes once the SBWC has signed off on it. This is why it’s so crucial that you work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
What Factors Affect How Long It Takes to Negotiate and Settle a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Several factors may shorten or extend the time it takes for you and your workers’ compensation attorney to reach a settlement. Taking the following factors into account can help you set expectations regarding the length of your claim:
The economic and non-economic losses you’ve been burdened with due to your workplace injury can impact the time it takes for your case to conclude. Calculating and seeking fair compensation for the following losses and challenges may add to the amount of time it takes to conclude your case:
- All medical costs, including treatment expenses, doctor visits, hospital stays, and ambulance rides
- Any future treatment costs, including physical therapy, surgeries, and prescription medication costs
- Lost wages and changes to future wages
- Whether or not you are facing a disability from your injuries
Insurance Companies May Delay Their Response in an Attempt to Derail Your Claim
The response time of the insurance company and your employer can also affect the full time it takes to negotiate and settle a workers’ compensation claim. Insurance companies will sometimes delay sending you an offer or answering your inquiries. Insurers employ this tactic to encourage you to accept a smaller claim and settle the case sooner.
It can also take longer to negotiate if you still receive medical treatment for your injuries. Your lawyer will want to ensure any future medical costs are accounted for, so they might wait until a doctor can determine your maximum medical improvement before deciding on a fair settlement.
Local Workers’ Comp Laws
Workers’ comp laws can differ from state to state. Depending on where you are located, local rules and regulations may impact how long it takes to get your medical benefits and other forms of compensation. State workers’ compensation laws can also dictate how much time you have to file a claim.
According to the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in Georgia, you have one year from the date of your accident to submit a claim. The sooner you contact the skilled attorney, the more likely you’ll meet this important deadline and gain access to the benefits you deserve.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Free Today
John Foy & Associates has been helping injured workers win the settlements they deserve for over 20 years. We’ve won over $1 Billion in case results for our clients and are fully prepared to provide the services you need to recover a fair settlement.
We will support you throughout the process and ensure your rights are upheld. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney and learn more about how long it takes to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement. We look forward to hearing from you soon.