Can I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Case?
“Does workman’s comp settle cases?”
“How do I just go ahead and move on from workers’ comp?”
“I don’t want surgery; I just want to settle. How do I do it?”
I have had the question posed to me dozens of different ways; but all of my former clients were essentially asking the same thing. Each of them wanted to know if they could bring their workers’ compensation claim to a close. Sometimes they were tired of staying at home and collecting a weekly disability check and felt they were ready to try to return to work. Other times they were at a crossroads in their medical treatment and wanted to know if they could get a settlement offer instead of going forward with an injection, a myelogram, or even a surgery that they were unsure they wanted.
And in most cases, my answer to these clients was the same. Yes, you can most likely settle your workers’ compensation claim if you are ready to do so. While there are some employers (most notably the State of Georgia) that are not currently settling cases, the vast majority of Employers and Insurers are open to negotiating a settlement of a Georgia workers’ compensation claim. And for the most part, settlement is something that can be explored at almost any phase of the case. I have seen cases that settle within a few weeks of an accident happening and seen other cases that settle only after many years of medical treatment and litigation.
The best time to settle a case will vary depending on a number of factors, and many of those factors will be out of an injured worker’s control. However, I generally tell my clients that the biggest thing to consider when thinking about settlement of a Georgia workers’ compensation case is the medical treatment you need. If you have already undergone the most significant and/or expensive treatment that your injuries will require, a discussion of settlement may be appropriate. If you are still early in your treatment and anticipate that something major, such as a surgery, will ultimately be ordered, it may be premature to discuss settlement. If you are at the point where a major medical procedure has been ordered, but you are unsure what to do, making a settlement demand or going to a settlement mediation may provide you with options you did not realize that you had and may provide clarity to help you better make a decision.