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The Dynamics of Settling Workers’ Compensation Claims

One of the key benefits of the workers’ compensation program in Colorado is the fact that the entire process may be resolved in a fairly expedient manner. The system is specifically designed to provide workers with the compensation they need to cover their medical expenses and missed wages as quickly as possible. Or at least, this is how the system is supposed to work in theory. In reality, workers may have to negotiate for weeks, months, or even years before finally getting their hands on the compensation they need. During this process, you may be tempted to simply settle and accept whatever your employer is offering. But is this really the best course of action?

Workers’ Compensation

The Vast Majority of Workers’ Compensation Claims Lead to Settlements

First of all, it is important to note that not settling a workers’ compensation claim is extremely rare. Only a fraction of these claims go to court, and most are settled after negotiations with employers, insurers, workers, and their respective legal counsel. It is only when these negotiations completely break down or reach impasses that trials are necessary. In this situation, courts in Colorado will hear your claim and determine the best way to resolve the dispute.

Often, these workers’ compensation trials are caused by a fundamental disagreement over the facts of the cases. For example, a worker might believe that they have been misclassified as an independent contractor – while the employer might argue otherwise. In some cases, employers may face personal injury trials for acts of serious, reckless, and gross misconduct. Once again, these situations are quite rare. For most workers’ comp claims, it is a question of when a settlement will occur – not if.

When Should I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Claim in Colorado?

If it is indeed a question of “when,” then when is the most opportune time to accept a settlement? As a general rule, you should wait until all of the relevant facts have been made clear. Perhaps most notably, you should wait until medical professionals understand the full extent of your injuries. This includes how they might affect your earning ability in the future, and the cost of continued treatment.

Generally speaking, the full extent of your injuries will only become clear after you reach your “Maximum Medical Improvement.” Also known simply as “MMI,” this is a crucial concept in the context of workers’ compensation claims. MMI represents the point at which doctors agree there is nothing more they can do to improve outcomes. In other words, the patient will not get any better from that point onward. For example, a patient may suffer a brain injury that results in serious cognitive and motor control issues. The patient may then spend years attempting to re-learn how to walk, talk, and carry out basic everyday tasks. At some point, doctors will agree that they have done all they can for the patient, and accept that this patient will never fully regain their previous abilities.

When you wait until reaching your MMI, you can approach negotiations with a much more accurate understanding of your future. This allows you to pursue compensation that may prove vital as you deal with the long-term effects of your injuries.

Consider Negotiating Alongside a Qualified Attorney

Even if your employer and their insurer seem willing to provide you with compensation right away, you should still consider negotiating alongside an attorney before accepting any offers. You may be entitled to much more compensation than you realize. Your offer might seem like a lot of money – and you may be tempted to get your hands on these funds as quickly as possible. However, your settlement can drain with exceptional speed – especially when you consider the rising cost of living in Colorado. Without any income for the foreseeable future, every penny counts.

Find a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Colorado

If you have been searching for an experienced workers’ comp attorney in Colorado, look no further than The Law Offices of W. Dan Mahoney, P.C. Over the years, we have assisted numerous injured workers throughout Colorado. We know that it can be tempting to accept a settlement offer if you are struggling with missed wages, medical bills, and seemingly no way to put food on the table. However, it is important to at least consult with a legal professional before making any hasty decisions. A qualified workers’ comp attorney can help you negotiate for a settlement that reflects the true extent of your damages. Book your consultation today to discuss the most appropriate next steps.