Two Times Your Workers' Compensation Case May End

Law Articles

If you have been injured on your job and you have filed for workers' compensation, you know that the date of your injury or the date you filed your claim is the date that your claim was opened. But what constitutes the end of your case? Under what circumstances can your case be closed? This can often be confusing, and if you do not understand it, you may give up rights and benefits that you are entitled to. 

You Have Returned To Work

When you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI), it means that your workers' compensation treatment options have been exhausted. Your physician is not expecting you to show any improvements with any additional treatment beyond where you currently are. When this happens, your doctor will fill out a form that states one of the following:

  • That you are fully recovered and are able to return to full duty with no restrictions
  • That you are fully recovered, but you need to return to full duty with certain restrictions or limitations
  • That you are not expected to improve any further in your healing and you will have some type of residual impairment or disability and you are unable to return to full duty

If you are fully recovered, then you are expected to be able to return to work and resume your previous duties. If you are able to do this, it will effectively close your workers' compensation case as well as your weekly compensation, and any medical related services that you are receiving as a part of your workers' compensation will cease. You will resume your normal work duties and will go back on the regular payroll.

If you are fully recovered, but you have certain restrictions or limitations, you may or may not be able to return to your previous duties. Your employer may have to make accommodations that may affect your salary. If this happens, you may still receive a weekly workers' compensation benefit in addition to your salary. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and will often be determined by the percentage of your salary you are receiving. 

You Sign A Settlement Agreement

If you have reached MMI and you are not able to return to work, your employer may attempt to get you to agree to settle your workers' compensation case. If this is the case, you need to be aware that there are two types of settlement agreements. They are:

Stipulated Finding and Award - This is an agreement between you and your employer that will determine what you will be awarded in your case. By stipulating or agreeing to the decision, it prevents your case from having to be heard by a judge. Once the agreement is drawn up, a judge will review it and sign it, which in turn will have the same effect as if you had gone to trial and the judge had entered an order. The amount you settle for will vary from state to state and injury to injury, but it may include calculations for the following:

  • Outstanding medical bills related to the injury
  • Disability or impairment rating 
  • Future costs of medical treatment and more

Your attorney will be able to assist you in determining these calculations.

Compromise and Release - If you enter into this type of agreement, you agree to close and release your workers' compensation case in exchange for a lump sum of money. You release the company from having to pay any future benefits or medical care. This may be the route you choose to go if you want to ensure that your case is over and you have other means of paying for your medical support. 

Before you agree to any type of agreement that may officially settle your case, you need to make sure that you work closely with a workers' compensation lawyer. Returning to work, signing off on an agreement, or any other action on your part may cost you benefits that you would have been entitled to long term. Your attorney will be able to review your individual case and make sure what you are doing is in your best interests.


12 July 2016

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.