Negotiating a Settlement for Your Permanent Work-Related Injury
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An employee injured on the job is entitled to immediate medical care and temporary disability benefits while they recover. If the injury is more severe, the worker's compensation system also provides benefits for injuries that result in a permanent disability.
Permanent and Stationary Status
To begin the settlement process with your employer's insurance company, your treating doctor must first declare that the condition caused by the work-related injury is permanent and stationary. This means that in the doctor's opinion, your condition will not be improved by current medical treatment because it has reached a plateau. It is important to review for accuracy the Permanent and Stationary Report that your doctor writes because it will be used to determine the compensation to which you are entitled as a settlement.
What If I Don't Agree with the Doctor's Report?
You should not begin to settle your claim with the insurance company if you do not agree with issues in the doctor's Permanent and Stationary Report. This includes issues like whether medical treatment will help you either now or in the future, whether you will be able to return to the type of work you performed before injured, or the extent of the disability.
You must object to the doctor's report within 30 days of receiving it. Both you and the insurance company have the right to evaluation by a different doctor if either disagrees with the treating doctor's report. You will need to pick a Qualified Medical Evaluator from a panel of doctors provided by the insurance company. This is a complicated process and extremely important to your ultimate settlement, so an attorney's counsel would be beneficial.
Permanent Disability Rating
The permanent disability rating determines the amount of the settlement you can expect. It is determined by a number of factors, making its computation complicated and involved. Each injury or impairment is given a percentage which varies for different parts of the body. The rating depends on the results of medical tests and examinations, the extent of the pain the doctor feels the injury caused, and the restrictions the injured worker will be faced with during future employment.
The same injury will affect one occupation different than it will affect another, so the permanent disability rating is then further evaluated with another number that represents your occupation. Your responsibilities at work might mean that more than one number corresponding to an occupation could accurately be used, meaning that depending on the number chosen, you may find that you are entitled to a larger or smaller settlement.
Should I Hire an Attorney To Help Settle My Permanent Disability Claim?
Calculating the settlement that you are entitled to because of a permanent disability requires detailed knowledge of the permanent disability rating manual and the current law. A worker's compensation lawyer is already familiar with both, and will be able to make sure that you do not settle your claim for less than it is worth at the urging of your employer's insurance company.
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Last Modified: 03-17-2014 09:39 AM PDT
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