When you are injured at work and file a workers’ compensation claim, the settlement must be approved before it becomes official. It’s important to note that if you are an employee hurt at work, you probably have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. You also deserve fair compensation that covers all your damages as you recover, and hiring a lawyer can help protect your rights.
How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement for Workers’ Comp?
The entire settlement process—from filing your claim to having the money in your hands—can take around 12-18 months depending on the details of your case and whether or not you have legal representation.
If you do not have a lawyer, do not have a permanent disability, and do not end up negotiating for your settlement, the timeline is typically around 12-14 months. With a lawyer, the settlement process typically takes a little longer—around 17-18 months. If you and your lawyer negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement, it can take around 20% longer to settle—but with a more favorable outcome.
Negotiation means you are seeking more money than the initial offer—which is rarely enough to compensate you for your injuries and damages.
How Does Negotiating a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Work?
When you bring a workers’ compensation case after a work injury, the insurance company might offer payment for medical bills and disability. You can choose to accept the offer, or you can seek a settlement to cover more of your damages.
To reach a fair settlement, you will need to negotiate with the insurance company. It’s best to have a workers’ compensation lawyer to help with this, as it’s very difficult to (successfully) go up against workers comp insurance companies alone. You will need to work with an attorney who specializes in workers’ comp claims and understands what goes into them.
Steps in a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Here is how it works:
- Your lawyer drafts a demand letter (approved by you) to send to the insurance company. This letter includes the settlement amount you will require to settle the case.
- When the insurance company receives the letter, they will make a counteroffer, and negotiations will begin.
- You and your lawyer will negotiate back and forth with the insurance company. If negotiation is successful, you will soon receive your payment.