Settling Your Workers' Comp Case before the holidays
Everyone needs extra money this time of year. With the holidays approaching, folks face plenty of added expenses -- gifts, decorations, special meals, travel costs to visit family. Injured workers in North Carolina especially feel this pinch, because they are not working or earning less than usual. Often, this time of year is when the settlement offers roll in.
- Why did I finally receive a settlement offer?
Insurance companies, unlike injured workers and their families, have no problem budgeting for the holidays. Because of their massive holdings, they have the luxury of paying out a workers’ compensation settlement whenever the timing work best for them. One common insurance strategy is to make an offer when the claimant is desperate for money…often right around the holidays. Another strategy is for the insurer to try to close out files before the end of the year, even if it means paying more than usual. Or perhaps the timing involves no strategy at all – it just so happens that the worker’s healing period has ended, and it is time to settle.
- Should I settle?
Maybe. The Greenville workers’ compensation attorneys of Ricci Law Firm can help injured workers decide whether your offer is fair, or whether the insurer is trying to take advantage of tough financial times. They know what claimants are entitled to receive under the Workers’ Compensation Act, and, through their years of experience, they also know a good settlement from a bad one. An offer arriving this time of year is not necessarily unfair. Sometimes the insurer just wants to cross off a file from its open-claims list before year end, meaning the offer may be good – even great. A board-certified workers’ compensation attorney can help you sift through the good offers and the bad offers.
- Is the offer negotiable?
Absolutely. The best tool to negotiate is to work with an attorney who knows how to correctly calculate your potential benefits. Without knowing the maximum benefits the injured worker may receive under the Workers’ Comp Act, negotiations usually do not cause the insurer to budge much. If the insurer knows the injured worker is informed of his or her rights and potential maximum recovery, the likelihood of a productive negotiation increases dramatically. The Greenville workers’ compensation attorneys of Ricci Law Firm regularly negotiate year-end settlements and can guide you through.
- When will my check arrive?
The timing of the check arrival depends on the terms negotiated in the settlement. The signing and court approval of the settlement often takes months, but a good lawyer can control some of that timing. If the injured worker is in dire straits and needs payment right away, the worker’s attorney may be able to arrange for a partial payment (called an “advance payment”) as early as the day of the mediation. The attorney may also request the insurer to put a rush on things by drafting the agreement more quickly than usual, or by sending the check more quickly after approval than the allotted 24 days.
Especially around the holidays, the terms negotiated in the workers’ compensation settlement agreement can make a world of difference. An experienced attorney can protect your rights when you need it most.