An insurance company has an interest in settling a workers' compensation case as soon as possible. This is because the future is uncertain, and an individual's health can worsen, meaning more money is paid out over time. You may have been offered a settlement without expecting it. If so, you have three basic responses.
You can accept the offer
Bear in mind that when you sign the paperwork, you're not just accepting the dollar amount that is offered, but also everything else in the settlement. Most often, there will be a compromise and release clause in the paperwork. What this means is that you waive all future claims against the insurance company. Without an attorney, this is what you will be signing. There are settlements that have stipulations in them to protect you against an unforeseen medical issue that stems from the original injury. However, you won't be able to negotiate a stipulation in a settlement that protects you without a lawyer. But even if you want to agree to a compromise and release offer, you should, at the very least, have an attorney explain the contents of what you are signing.
You can reject the offer
At the very least, you will not regret signing a paper that you didn't understand. One problem with rejecting the settlement is that an insurance company is not likely to make a new offer, at least in the near future. Some people think that rejecting an offer is a negotiation position, but the insurance company doesn't see it that way. In some cases, they come back with a better offer, but you can be sure that it's not much better than the first offer, and nothing close to what you require. Instead of rejecting the offer, take their first offer to an attorney.
You can negotiate
This means a counteroffer. They will look at your number, and then there will be a discussion about what a fair figure is for both you and the insurance company. In this situation, you are all but guaranteed to get a bad settlement. Insurance adjusters negotiate settlements for a living, and most often, strike a good deal for their employers. You are out of your element when attempting to bargain for a good dollar figure. Hire a workers' compensation lawyer, and let them do the negotiating. They can negotiate on equal footing.
When an insurance company makes an offer to settle your workers' compensation case, there are three things you can do: accept, reject, or negotiate. In all three situations, you should consult an attorney. They can point out issues with the offer that you may not understand. Likewise, rejecting the offer may result in no settlement, and attempting to negotiate yourself will likely mean a poor settlement.
Reach out to a local workers' compensation law firm to learn more.