If you are thinking of filing a workers compensation case in New Bedford, MA, you might have a few questions on your mind like how much money you are going to get and how to go about settling your case. Below are some of the basics that you should know.
You Will Lose Your Weekly Benefits
Once you decide to settle your workers compensation case outside the courtroom, you can’t file for a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, you will not be able to collect your weekly benefits because settling your case means you lose your weekly benefits.
Medical Payments Might Continue
You have a right to receive reasonable medical care after a work related injury. You will be reimbursed any money that you used for travel to and fro the hospital. For your first visit to the hospital, your employer has the right to decide which hospital or doctor you should see. After that, you can choose which hospital you want to go to for treatment.
You will be given an insurance card with a claim number and contact information on it. It’s very important that your doctor is given this claim number because they will use it to bill the insurer directly and to get pre-approval for treatment of your illness or work injury.
You will receive medical payments for as long as you require medical treatment for your injury. If your insurer is reluctant to continue paying your medical bills even after you have settled your workers compensation case, you should consider hiring a New Bedford workers compensation attorney to help you.
Your Workers Compensation Settlement Must be Approved by the State Workers Compensation Agency
Once you, your lawyer and the insurance company have decided to settle your workers compensation case, the state of Massachusetts requires that your proposed settlement be submitted to the state workers compensation agency for approval.
A hearings officer or a workers compensation judge will review your proposed settlement to ensure that you were not forced into accepting the settlement. The judge may reject your settlement if they feel that the amount you received is not enough to compensate you for your losses.
How Much Can You Receive in Workers Compensation Settlement?
Workers compensation and personal injury are two different things in that with workers compensation, you won’t receive compensation for pain and suffering. (Read more about the difference between workers compensation and personal injury). The value of your workers compensation case will be determined by two things:
- The amount of future benefits you are entitled to
- The chances of receiving those benefits
The medical evidence in your case is a huge contributing factor to the value of your case. It is also dependent on the Massachusetts’ workers compensation law. For instance, if medical evidence shows that you will be temporarily disabled for one year, and you will make a full recovery without permanent impairment, then you will be entitled to one year of temporary disability benefits.
In such a situation, it wouldn’t be realistic to pay you a lump sum of one year temporary disability benefits unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Can Your Benefits be Stopped or Reduced?
The short answer is yes; your benefits can be stopped or reduced. Several reasons can explain why you stopped receiving benefits and they include:
- An arbitrator, higher court, Reviewing Board or an Administrative Judge ordered your benefits to be stopped.
- You went back to work. The insurer has a right to stop paying you your benefits if you go back to work. However, if you stop working within 28 days because of the same work related injury, they are obligated to resume paying you your benefits.
- The insurer has information that you will be going back to work soon, your doctor has approved it and your employer has an open position that is suitable for someone who suffered your kind of injuries.
- Refusal to cooperate with vocational rehabilitation services or refusal to attend an evaluation by a DIA Vocational Rehabilitation Review Officer.
- Refusal to attend an evaluation by a doctor
- You are sent to jail for a felony or misdemeanor.
Why You Need a New Bedford Workers Compensation Attorney
Determining the value of your workers compensation case might not be as easy as you think. Besides, several other factors like the insurer refusing to pay you your benefits might be a source of frustration. In order to help protect your rights, you need to hire a qualified New Bedford Workers compensation attorney. You can contact any one of our workers compensation attorneys from Kevin P Landry Law Offices today and get your case evaluated free of charge. Simply call 508-999-0800 today.