In some ways, workers’ compensation insurance is different from other common forms of insurance. To start with, workers’ compensation is a policy purchased by employers and mandated by the state that protects employees from the risks associated with their job.
Additionally, unlike many other kinds of insurance, workers’ compensation insurance covers 100% of the medical costs associated with an approved claim. Standard medical insurance only pays a portion, requiring the recipient of benefits to pay a deductible, co-pays or even coinsurance in order to receive medical treatment.
However, workers’ compensation insurance is like other insurance in that the companies that offer this mandatory protection for employers often try their best to keep costs low instead of ensuring the best level of care for people. That potential profit motive should make you skeptical of any settlement offer you receive.
Accepting a settlement limits future options
As a general rule, those with ongoing medical costs who are unsure of the long-term impact of their work-related injury or illness need to be careful about settlement offers. Once you agree to certain terms, you waive your rights to bring future action against the insurance company or the employer.
Although a settlement offer may seem appropriate on the surface, you must consider the fact that it will have to cover your medical costs now and in the future, as well as your lost wages until you can return to work. Trying to determine the long-term financial impact of your work-acquired medical condition can give you a good idea about whether a settlement offer is reasonable based on your situation.
Rejecting a settlement offer doesn’t mean you won’t get benefits
Some people worry that by rejecting an initial offer, they may close themselves off to the workers’ compensation benefits they know they’re going to need. However, rejecting an initial settlement offer doesn’t mean you reject any insurance benefits.
It simply means that you expect to enter into negotiations with the company to find a resolution that works in your favor. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a better settlement with a little effort and the right help. Other times, it may be necessary to go to court in order to get the benefits that you need.