Sometimes, workers ‘compensation is easily resolved. However, there are many instances where the process is very difficult and you aren’t sure what’s actually a good offer. It can be tempting to accept your first workers’ compensation offer just to end the entire frustrating process—but your future self will thank you for exploring all your options.
Do I Have to Accept the First Workers’ Compensation Offer?
After filing a workers’ compensation claim, your employer or the insurance company might make you think the first offer is as good as it gets. However, the truth is that you have no obligation to accept it.
It’s your decision how you want to proceed, and you do not have to accept the first offer. In fact, many times, you should not accept the first workers’ compensation offer because there is the potential to seek a higher settlement. At the very least, we recommend talking to a workers’ compensation lawyer about your case and your options.
Factors to Consider Regarding the First Offer
When you file your claim, the insurance company may offer you a payment plan or lump sum of money right away. This will likely be tempting, especially if you were seriously injured and worried about mounting medical bills and other costs. Plus, you may be eager to end the whole thing and begin moving on with your life.
However, keep in mind that it’s your right to seek fair compensation after a work injury. How your case goes will determine whether how much money you receive to cover your expenses. Future expenses can cause a lot of further stress, so you will want to ensure your settlement helps alleviate those stressors as much as possible.
It’s best to work with a workers’ compensation lawyer who can help calculate what a fair settlement will look like in your case, based on the following.
The Severity of Your Injuries
If your injuries were less serious and you are sure your treatment will be short-lived, you might be okay accepting a lower settlement that covers your immediate costs.
However, many workplace injuries can lead to temporary or permanent disabilities that will continue to impact your life down the road. In this case, it’s far better to negotiate a higher settlement to protect yourself in the long term.
You and your lawyer should also review how Georgia workers compensation schedules for disabilities (as outlined in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 34-9-7) and compare those to your treatment needs.
You will need to take into account just how much your injuries will affect you in the future. If you are expected to fully heal and return to work as you did before, you might be safe accepting a first offer or a lump sum settlement.
On the other hand, if your condition’s treatment timeline is more uncertain or will greatly affect how you can work in the future, you will need to consider the full spectrum of monetary needs going forward. Very serious injuries, such as loss of limb, will absolutely impact your earning potential so accepting the first offer is very unwise.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you figure out how much settlement you’ll need to cover the full extent of your injuries. They can also help ensure you see the right doctors and get their conclusion on your prognosis.
to find a John Foy office near you
What Are My Options if I Don’t Accept the First Offer?
When deciding whether or not to accept the first workers’ compensation offer you receive, you should also consider your options if you do not accept it.
You’ll want to look at how close the first workers’ compensation offer is to the settlement you actually deserve. A lawyer can help you look at your current and future costs, then compare them to what you’re being offered. If the difference is significant, your best option is likely to fight for a higher settlement.
Plus, to settle a claim through negotiations, both sides (you/your lawyer and the insurance company) must be willing to negotiate. You’ll need to discuss the pros and cons with your lawyer, then work on negotiating with the insurance adjuster to try and find a settlement amount that both sides will accept. If you are able to reach an amount that is fair to you and it’s accepted by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, you’ll receive your settlement.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free Today
Each workers’ compensation is unique, and it’s best to discuss your options with a lawyer. Don’t be tempted to accept the first offer until after you’ve spoken to a workers’ comp attorney who can help.
Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers John Foy & Associates can help you seek the settlement you actually deserve to account for how your injuries have impacted your life. We have been helping injured workers for over 20 years, and we know what it takes to win cases. Call us today or contact us online to get matched with the best lawyer for you and schedule a FREE consultation.