If a workers’ compensation claimant and the insurance company agree on the total value of a claim, they may enter into a settlement. This is an exchange where the insurance carrier issues a lump sum payment to the claimant, and the claimant relinquishes any future workers' compensation claims for the injury.
Insurers may offer a settlement to a claimant at any point, and claimants can accept a settlement at any time. Claimants are also free to refuse settlements, and cannot be forced to settle their cases.
If they don't settle, they may continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits as normal.
What Florida Claimants Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Settlements in workers' compensation benefits aren't like settlements in other injury cases. While most injury claims allow a victim to recover the full costs of an accident, workers' compensation settlements only cover costs that could be recovered under the workers' comp system. Reimbursement for loss of earning capacity, employer or insurer negligence, property losses, or a victim’s pain and suffering aren't recoverable in these types of settlements.
However, workers’ compensation settlements can provide payment for:
- Future injury costs. Insurers usually calculate settlement amounts based on how much a claimant could collect in medical and wage benefits for the injury under the workers' compensation system. As a result, settlement offers are typically made to claimants who require ongoing medical treatment, cannot return to work, or have suffered long-term or permanent disability due to injury.
- Permanent disability benefits. Insurers may be liable for paying disability benefits indefinitely to an injured worker. In these cases, insurers may offer a lump sum to these claimants instead of providing ongoing payment for permanent disability.
- Past-due payments. An insurer may be asked to compensate any unpaid temporary disability payments, unreimbursed medical expenses, or resolve any other injury-related financial disputes as part of a settlement. Also, the insurer may be asked to pay penalties incurred if the company didn't issue benefits on time.
- Vocational rehabilitation. If you're unable to return to your past work, the workers’ compensation insurer may be asked to pay for your job retraining. Florida law requires an employer to pay up to 52 weeks of wage losses as long as the injured worker has attended vocational rehabilitation.
Florida law requires any workers’ comp claimant to be represented by an attorney in order to accept a settlement. At Johnson & Gilbert, P.A., we can estimate what you're owed for your injuries and whether a settlement is the best option for you. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule your free case evaluation.