Workers compensation is an important system that essentially works like insurance for employees hurt on the job. Most employers are required to carry it, and you should know that you’re probably eligible for workers comp if you’ve sustained an injury or gotten ill while at work or performing work duties. But workers compensation claims can often be quite complex — even more complex than average personal injury cases, since workers compensation law puts limits on the situations under which workers can both file claims and lawsuits. For that reason, it’s always best to work with one or more workers compensation lawyers who can guide you as to your best options. And, of course, attorneys will also have experience when it comes to negotiating workers compensation settlements. But to get you started, here’s what you need to know about these settlements:
- Rules on Settlements Vary From State to State
Before you get too engrossed in Internet research, remember that workers comp laws vary from state to state. The method used to calculate settlements is similar, but not identical, so you shouldn’t count on anything until you’ve spoken to a lawyer.
- You’ll Get Less Than You Would From a Personal Injury Claim
Workers comp claims have a lower burden of proof than personal injury lawsuits, and are paid out on a “no-fault” basis. That means you won’t need to provide evidence that your employer was negligent in some way that led to your injury, rather only that you were indeed hurt on the job. But that also means that the awards tend to be lower for workers comp.
- “Pain and Suffering” Damages Don’t Apply
Don’t expect any “pain and suffering” or “emotional distress” damages as part of workers compensation settlements. Those are part of personal injury, not workplace injury, law.
- You’ll Need to Know Your Rating for Bodily Impairment
One factor in your settlement will be your rating for bodily impairment. This is expressed as a percentage, with 100% being fully disabled and 0% being fully healed. Your workers comp wage will depend on this rating, and that wage in turn will be multiplied based on your healing time.
- Future Costs Should Be a Major Factor
The part many workers fail to account for when seeking a settlement is their future medical costs. You need to make sure your settlement not only covers any medical costs you’ve already incurred, but will also allow you to get the care you need for years to come.
What else should workers know about workers compensation settlements? Join the discussion in the comments.