Workplace injuries or illnesses can lead to significant setbacks for a victim. However, California has a robust workers’ compensation system in place to help care for those who sustain on-the-job injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance in California is designed to provide coverage of medical treatment, lost income, and even temporary or permanent disability benefits if necessary.
This system is designed to be “no-fault,” which means an injured worker should receive compensation regardless of who caused the injury. However, securing workers’ compensation insurance coverage is not always cut and dry. There are various reasons why a person may or may not be offered a settlement when they file for a workman’s compensation claim in California.
Why You may Receive a Workman’s Comp Settlement
There are various reasons why a person may be offered a workers’ compensation settlement in California. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will often make a settlement offer if they believe that such an offer will save them money in the long run. The goal of all insurance carriers is generally to save as much money as possible while still also meeting their minimum obligations for paying legitimate claims.
If an injury and the compensation needed to cover the claim is relatively minor, the insurance carrier may simply opt to pay whatever medical bills are incurred and pay for any lost wages. For example, if a person sustains a minor wrist sprain that will leave them out of work for only a few days, the insurance carrier will likely simply pay all the bills and wages associated with the claim.
However, if a person breaks their leg in multiple locations, this will likely require several surgeries, physical therapy, and potentially years away from work. This type of case will cost the insurance carrier plenty of money, and it may be more beneficial for the carrier to offer one large settlement as opposed to continuing to pay years worth of medical bills and lost wages.
When Should You Accept a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
Even when a settlement offer is made, it may not always be in the best interest of the injured worker to accept it. In the majority of cases, one person accepts a workers’ compensation settlement in California, which will be the final payment given, and the case will be closed.
This means that any other costs that arise due to the workplace injury will not be covered, as the victim will not be able to reopen their case or make another claim to cover the costs for that particular injury.
A person should never accept a settlement for a workers’ compensation claim until they have reached what is called maximum medical improvement (MMI). A person will only reach MMI after the doctor has determined that their medical condition is stable and that there will likely be no improvement with further medical treatment. If an injury victim accepts a workers’ compensation settlement before they have reached maximum medical improvement, they will not be able to receive any compensation down the line if the injury turns out to be worse than they thought.
Work With a Skilled California Workers’ Comp Attorney
It is important for any work injury victim to speak to a skilled workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County as soon as possible. An attorney will have a thorough understanding of every aspect related to these cases, and they will understand when it will be beneficial to accept a settlement from the insurance carrier and when accepting such a settlement will likely be a bad idea. An attorney will even be able to handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance carrier or the employer when working to obtain a fair settlement.