I am frequently asked about settling of Workers’ Comp cases. The question of whether or not to settle your Workers’ Comp case is an individual choice that involves a lot of factors. However, I’ll address a couple of important points that touch on the concerns I see raised by folks on our blog and in my practice.
An important thing to keep in mind about settling a Workers’ Comp case is that settlement is voluntary for both parties and the insurance company is only going to seriously consider settlement for the amount of their liability, which probably doesn’t come close to your loss. Insurance companies evaluate everything in terms of dollars and cents so if a settlement doesn’t make economic sense, they’re not going to be interested.
Insurance companies are generally interested in settling for around 5 to 5 and 1/2 years of your payments. On occasion, we can negotiate higher, but 5 to 5 and 1/2 years is pretty much the ballpark. A couple of reasons for this are that the insurance company is looking forward to a time when they may pass liability for your claim on to a state fund or they find another way to get out of paying you. See NY Workers’ Comp and Labor Market Attachment Revisited.
The most important point about settling your Workers’ Comp claim is to NOT settle before you’re at maximum medical improvement. If your injury is recent, insurance company representatives may be hounding you to settle. The overwhelming majority of settlements settle both lost wage payments and medical benefits. I advise our clients to NOT consider settlement of their claims until their work injury is at maximum medical improvement.
Please see Jim Reed‘s blog post “Attorney’s Fees in N.Y. Workers Compensation Cases” for some great comments related to settling Workers’ Comp cases.
I would be happy to hear any questions you may have about settling your Workers’ Comp case.
Thanks for reading,
Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529