Whether or not you negotiate with the insurance adjuster to reach a settlement is a decision that involves multiple factors and considerations. Choosing to settle is always voluntary and it helps to get the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney if you feel pressured to settle when you don’t want to. You will probably get a phone call from the insurance adjuster soon after your injury because the goal of the insurance company is go get you to settle early for a low amount.
You can’t know the value of your claim this early in the game, and the value of your claim will vary based on when you settle. When you contact a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney, you will have a much better chance of maximizing your settlement value. It is unwise to settle without the guidance of an attorney because you cannot undo your decision once you settle the case.
Reasons to Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are a few good reasons to settle your workers’ compensation claim. Simply not risking the time and expense of a trial that may or may not come out in your favor is an advantage. You also might find yourself receiving weekly payments instead of a lump sum payment if the case goes to trial. Avoiding trial will save time and money, minimize your risk of getting nothing, and ensure that you are guaranteed workers’ compensation benefits. You can also include the need for ongoing medical care benefits in your settlement, like the costs of potential future surgeries.
Workers’ Compensation Settlement Structure
Any workers’ compensation settlement agreement needs to provide for future medical costs and worded in such a way that you will not lose Social Security benefits because you receive workers’ compensation benefits. The details and wording of the settlement can be complicated and important when it comes to protecting your rights and maximizing the value of your claim. This is why most will recommend speaking to a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney about your case before negotiating with the insurance adjuster.
Seven Mistakes Injured Workers Make
1. Acting Without an Attorney
Workers’ compensation laws are complicated and full of loopholes. You really need someone who knows all about the Workers’ Compensation Act on your side when confronting a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. If you act without an attorney, then the insurance adjuster is going to feel more than comfortable taking advantage of this weakness.
2. Working with an Unaggressive Attorney
If you work with an attorney who doesn’t represent your best interests or take an active role in your case, then this too is going to harm your case with the insurance adjuster. You need an attorney who returns your phone calls, meets with you face to face, and is confident in his or her ability to get the insurance adjuster to compromise in your direction.
3. Showing Signs of Desperation
For many injured workers, workers’ compensation benefits are something that they can’t wait for forever. The financial strain of medical expenses and lost wages can make a person desperate for the case to settle quickly. However, the last thing that you want to do is show signs of desperation. If the insurance adjuster thinks you are likely to accept just about anything, this will lower the value of your settlement. They may also withhold checks for no reason (other than increasing your desperation to settle) for up to three weeks if you don’t have an attorney to put a stop to this.
4. Returning to Work without Medical Restrictions
Insurance adjusters know that if a doctor will approve you to go back to work without any medical restrictions, then they can instantly reduce the value of your claim or cut off your compensation payments altogether without much notice. The insurance companies even choose doctors who are likely to approve you for work without restrictions. You can prevent this, but you have to act quickly.
5. Believing Myth of Attorney Taking Most of Settlement
Insurance adjusters and medical professionals frequently spread the myth that hiring an attorney isn’t worth it because he or she will take most of your settlement. This is far from the truth. In reality, you improve your likelihood of getting as much as 2.7 times what you could get without an attorney. Attorneys should not charge you more than 25% of your recovery, so you still get more than twice the amount with an attorney than you would without one.
6. Giving Employer Any Reason to Fire You
The insurance adjuster would prefer to have you on the company’s payroll and off of the workers’ compensation coverage payroll as quickly as possible. This is easiest when the employer offers light duty work, which the employee is obligated to accept if offered. While it is illegal for your employer to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is not illegal for the employer to fire you for any other reason. If you give the employer any reason to fire you (like refusing light duty work), or if you don’t fight any obvious attempts to justify termination of employment, then you can lose your benefits.
7. Not Paying Attention to Rules of Rehab Nurses and Vocational Rehab Counselors
As an injured worker, you need to know what the rules are for rehab nurses and vocational rehab counselors, and be aware of those professionals who might be breaking these rules. Rehab professionals are hired by insurance adjusters with the goal of them helping the insurance company to keep costs down. However, they will do this for as much as $85 per hour, which naturally doesn’t save money if everyone is following the Rehab Rules of the Industrial Commission. If you are unaware of what might be happening right under your nose, or if you are unsure of what to look for, your best bet is to hire a Nevada workers’ compensation attorney to help.