Should I Settle My Workers' Compensation Claim?

Workers compensation, or workers comp, laws are put into place to ensure that a worker who is injured on the job is compensated appropriately for their injury or occupational disease. Workers comp laws help to ensure workers that they and their families will remain taken care of in the case of a workplace injury or disease resulting in missed work, medical treatment, disability, or death, and these laws allow a person to forfeit their right to file a lawsuit against their employer in exchange for a steady income and benefits received. These laws benefit both the employee and the employer, and allow for workers to be taken care of in the case of a worst case scenario.

Getting an acceptable workers comp settlement in the state of Pennsylvania will typically require the assistance of an attorney who understands the workers compensation laws in place throughout the state, allowing the injured party the best chance at receiving their maximum settlement amount.

The amount of a worker's settlement in Pennsylvania depends on a variety of different factors, from their employer to their specific injury, and each case will be different dependent upon the severity of the injury at hand.

How Workers' Comp Settlements Are Reached In Pennsylvania

The lump sum number of a workers comp settlement in the state of Pennsylvania is reached when the claimant (the injured employee) and the employer reach an agreement on the compensation to be received. The claimant and their attorney will typically present a demand of the settlement they are looking to achieve, and the employer can either approve or deny this demand. Should the employer deny the demand for settlement, they will then present their own settlement number. If the claimant and his or her attorney are dissatisfied with the settlement being presented by the employer, the negotiations will continue until a settlement number is finally agreed upon.

Because workers comp often involves many unforeseen complex legal issues, it is always recommended that any worker seeking workers compensation in the state of Pennsylvania seek the assistance of a skilled workers compensation lawyer. These types of lawyers specialize in all laws revolving workplace accidents and workers compensation, and they will be able to use this knowledge to get their clients the maximum settlement that can be reached.

The amount of an injured workers settlement will depend on many different factors revolving around their employer, their injuries sustained, and their residual earning power. In the state of Pennsylvania, workers compensation does not cover the costs of pain and suffering, but only for the lost wages and the costs of the injury or disease incurred.

Receiving Pay After Settlement

Workers who have been awarded a workers comp settlement from their employers will often need the money as quickly as possible, as their injury or disease will have kept them from earning their wages. Once a workers comp judge approves the settlement agreement, and has issued an order of approval, an employer has 30 days to make the first payment to the injured worker. Often, employers will also keep the employees medical benefits open for a predetermined period of time while also giving the worker his or her settlement money.

If the employer who the settlement is reached with does not send compensation within this allotted 30 day time span, or on time at a future date, the injured worker then has the opportunity to file a penalty petition on their former employer. A workers comp judge can review this petition and make the choice to award the injured worker with up to 50% of the amount of the payment in addition to the late payment itself. This penalty reward depends on a variety of factors, and the 50% number is the maximum amount that can be awarded in the state, with many penalty rewards being significantly less. Some of the factors contributing to the awarding of a late payment penalty reward are:

  • How late the payment was made
  • Reasons for late payment
  • Situations involving the employer that could cause a late payment

Whether a late payment reward is made, and the amount of the reward, is up to the discretion of the workers comp judge overseeing the filing of the penalty petition. Various factors will be considered by the judge in the employer's and the employee's cases to determine if a penalty reward is deemed fair compensation for a late workers compensation settlement payment.

Always Seek A Workers' Compensation Lawyer

A workers compensation attorney will allow a person their best chance at their wanted settlement amount. Because there are so many different factors and laws that contribute to a settlement amount, a workers compensation lawyer is often found to be required to allow the injured worker to properly understand exactly what is going on with his or her case and why. This understanding will allow a worker to obtain the settlement they deserve, and one they can be happy with.

A workers compensation lawyer has experience in reaching workers compensation settlements and is well aware of the multiple complex factors or issues that may be involved in the case, thereby allowing him or her to provide their client with the information they need to understand their settlement and the negotiation process. A skilled workers compensation lawyer will be able to break down each factor of a specific case and use them to determine a fair settlement amount to be brought to the employer negotiations.