How Long Does It Take to Settle A Workers' Compensation Case?
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Workers' compensation cases can sometimes be resolved swiftly, within a matter of weeks or months, but more often, they take years to settle. On average, it takes about 16 months to reach a settlement in a workers' compensation case, which could involve a court hearing or a settlement agreement. Fewer than 20% of cases are resolved within the initial six months, while approximately half of the workers see their claims settled within a 13 to 24 month period.
It is important to note that each case is distinct, and the time frame for reaching a settlement can vary significantly depending on the unique circumstances involved.
If you are navigating a workers' compensation settlement, hire an experienced attorney from Bellotti Law Group, P.C. can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the process. Their skilled lawyers have a deep understanding of workers' compensation laws and can help ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. With their expertise, they can effectively handle your claim, from filing the initial paperwork to negotiating the settlement or representing you in court, if necessary. Trusting your case to the dedicated legal team at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. can significantly improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome in your workers' compensation settlement. Call today for a free consultation.When Will I Receive Payments for My Workers’ Comp. Settlement?
In Massachusetts, injured workers who opt for a lump sum settlement in their workers' compensation claim often wonder about the timeframe for receiving their check. Generally, the worker should expect to receive the lump sum settlement within 14 days from when the workers' compensation insurance company obtains the approved lump sum agreement.
This 14-day guideline stems from Section 8 of the Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Act (M.G.L. c. 152), which partially states that an insurer's failure to make all due payments to an employee under the terms of an approved lump sum agreement within 14 days of receiving such a document will result in a penalty. Consequently, workers' compensation insurers must issue the lump sum settlement check to the injured employee within this specified period to avoid incurring a penalty.How Do I Finalize A Lump Sum Payment?
To finalize a lump sum settlement in a workers' compensation claim, several documents and forms need to be prepared, negotiated, and filed by the injured employee's attorney and the insurer's counsel for review by a judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents. The primary form, known as the Agreement For Redeeming Liability By Lump Sum (Form 117), is accompanied by an Addendum to the Lump Sum Settlement Agreement (Form 116B), a Lien Disclosure Form (Form 116C), and the Consent of Employer to Lump Sum Agreement (Form 116A), which the insurer must obtain and file.
In Massachusetts, an administrative judge or in some cases, a conciliator, must approve all proposed lump sum settlement agreements. The injured worker is required to attend a lump sum conference before a judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents for the settlement to be approved. During this conference, the judge reviews the terms of the agreement, hears from both the injured worker's and the insurer's attorneys, and addresses the injured employee directly to clarify specific terms and effects of the settlement before approving or disapproving it. This judicial approval is mandated by M.G.L. c. 152 § 48(1), which states that a lump sum agreement is not considered perfected unless a judge approves it as being in the claimant's best interest.The Claimant's Best Interest Standard
Lump sum settlements in workers' compensation cases generally involve a compromise between the injured worker and the insurer. Typically, the injured worker receives somewhat less than they believe they are entitled to, while the insurer pays more than they think they should. When reviewing a settlement agreement, a judge considers various factors to determine whether to approve or disapprove it. These factors include the injured worker's current disability status, any pre-existing injuries, and if such pre-existing injuries are the major cause of the disability, among others.
In all cases, the judge's primary objective is to ascertain if the settlement serves the claimant's (injured worker) best interest. The specifics of the accident and injury are evaluated, and if the claim is pending litigation, the judge weighs the strengths and weaknesses of the case. For example, if the injured worker's case appears weak, a judge may deem the settlement to be in the claimant's best interest since proceeding to a conference or hearing could result in the worker losing and receiving no benefits.
An experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney can help an injured worker assess the proposed lump sum settlement's favorability. A lawyer with extensive experience in settling workers' compensation cases can determine if the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable, and likely to be approved by a judge. Therefore, it is strongly advised that injured workers consult an experienced attorney for a case review before making a decision on a settlement.Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Settlement Process
The workers' compensation settlement process involves several steps, beginning with the injured employee providing notice of the injury to their supervisor. The employer then reports the injury to the Division of Workers' Compensation and refers the employee for medical evaluation and treatment. The injured worker (or their attorney) files the Claim for Compensation with the appropriate state agency, and the employee undergoes necessary medical treatment, which may include restricted duty or receiving workers' compensation pay.
Eventually, the workers' compensation doctor releases the employee from medical care, and if everything has gone smoothly, the claim advances to the Settlement phase. However, if the employee still requires additional treatment or faces other challenges, the claim enters the Hardship phase. The settlement process can be straightforward if the employer has accepted the claim, provided necessary medical treatment, paid work comp pay, and accommodated light duty without any issue regarding permanent disability. In such cases, claims can be settled within six months after medical treatment has concluded.Contact An Attorney
Insurance companies will use their extensive legal teams to prioritize company profits over your compensation. Their lawyers will do whatever they can to minimize the amount of compensation you will receive. The Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. are here to help protect your rights. We can handle negotiations on your behalf, filing documents, and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. Call for a free case evaluation today.