Should You Settle Your Ohio Workers’ Comp Case?
You can settle your Ohio workers’ compensation claim at any point after you get approved to receive benefits. In fact, you should expect to receive settlement offers from both the workers’ comp program and your employer soon after you learn that application was approved.
To decide whether negotiating a workers’ comp settlement makes sense, you must, at a minimum, answer the following four questions.
Have you been cleared to return to work?
Medical benefits under workers’ com stop when you are cleared to return work. You may still require regular doctors’ visits, prescription medications, therapy sessions, and even surgery, but the workers’ comp program will no longer pay for any of that.
Settling your workers’ comp claim at this stage will resolve outstanding bills and clear up confusion about relying on your own health insurance will deal with ongoing costs.
Have you been told that further medical treatment and therapy will not improve your condition?
Receiving notice that you have achieved what the workers’ comp program calls “maximum medical improvement” stops your medical benefits. If you still cannot return to your job or take some other form of employment, you can apply for permanent disability benefits from Social Security or a pension program like the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Accepting payments from workers’ compensation will not disqualify you from receiving long-term disability benefits.
Are you eligible for a scheduled payment for a specific injury?
The Ohio workers’ compensation program maintains a list of so-called scheduled payments for traumatic injuries like amputations, the loss of an eye, and partial or permanent hearing loss. You can request and receive a scheduled payment while pursuing other claims arising from your on-the-job accident.
Would you rather receive a lump sum payment instead of biweekly disbursements?
Wage replacement and wage supplement benefits typically get delivered every two weeks, like paychecks. Disbursements continue until the amount approved by the workers’ comp program is paid in full. You can ask to have the entire amount paid out all at once, at which point your employer or the workers’ comp program will probably counter with a lower lump sum offer.
Be aware that you have an undeniable right to consult with an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney throughout the entire time you are thinking about settling your claims. Your lawyer will not tell you what to do, but they can provide sound advice on whether a settlement offer is adequate and fair.
As a final consideration, check whether you need to agree to release the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and your employer from all future claims related to the injury or illness that prompted this case. Even if you negotiated the settlement yourself without input from an attorney, sit down with a lawyer now to read the fine print of the final agreement. Excusing the workers’ comp program and your employer from future liability means you will not be able to reopen your case if symptoms persist or grow worse.
Lawyers in the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman welcome opportunities to help injured and ill workers. Call us at (614) 221-3318 or (800) 678-3318 to request a free consultation on your Ohio workers’ compensation case. We also take appointments online.