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Should I Settle My Workers' Compensation Claim?

Settling your workers' compensation claim can be beneficial in some cases, but you should understand that settling means giving up certain rights under the law.

In California, workers' compensation laws are designed to provide medical and financial benefits to workers injured on the job. While workers’ comp benefits typically cover a portion of income lost due to an injury, workers may be asked to settle their claim in exchange for a lump sum payment.

It’s important to consider all of the factors involved before deciding whether or not you should settle your workers' compensation claim. An experienced workers' comp attorney can help you evaluate your options and determine if settling is the best choice for you.

When to Consider Settling Your Workers’ Comp Claim

Unless your doctor says you’ve reached a status commonly called “maximum medical improvement,” you shouldn’t consider settling your claim. When you reach this point, further treatment is not expected to improve your recovery, and your current condition is likely as improved as it will ever become.

Settling your claim after you reach this point is important because it can shed light on the full impact of your injuries. Not only can it account for all of the medical treatment you have received, but it can also account for all of your lost wages during recovery as well as the costs of ongoing treatment and physical or occupational therapy.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s always possible for your condition to change after you reach the maximum medical improvement. This is why you should exercise a great amount of caution and deeply consider the implications of settling your claim before doing so.

When to Avoid Settling Your Workers’ Comp Claim

The main reason to avoid settling a workers’ comp claim is that settling a claim can cut you off from financial resources that may be necessary to help you reach the maximum medical improvement.

Recovery from a work injury can take a long time, and it may be tempting to settle a workers’ comp claim after some time. There is a considerable risk in doing so, however, because settling means an injured worker can’t go back to their employer’s insurance company for additional money if their work injury worsens or causes additional health problems.

For these reasons, it’s generally advisable to avoid settling a workers’ comp claim unless your doctor is confident that your recovery has plateaued indefinitely.

Can I Reopen a Settled Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes. In California, you can request to reopen a workers’ compensation claim within five years after the date the injury occurred – but only if there is a new and further disability. In other words, the work injury must require you to receive new medical treatment, go back on disability, or the severity of a permanent disability has increased.

Contact Smolich and Smolich for Help

Don’t settle your workers’ comp claim without legal advice from an experienced workers’ comp attorney! At Smolich and Smolich, we are advocates for injured workers in California, which means we stand up for hard-working people when they need help getting the financial resources necessary to deal with a work injury.

If you have thought about settling your workers’ comp claim, talk with one of our experienced lawyers for guidance first.

You can request a free consultation with Smolich and Smolich today by contacting us online.