So far I have discussed many different benefits injured workers may be entitled to in Ohio workers’ compensation claims. Some of these benefits are never pursued because the injured workers do not know about them. One such benefit is a settlement or “lump sum settlement”.
What Is Settlement Based On?
In workers’ compensation there is no award for pain and suffering. So a settlement would be based on what benefits may be available in the claim in the future.
The first future benefit looked at is likely medical costs. In figure out a settlement value, you have to look at what future treatment is likely to be saught and approved. Someone who has had no treatment for several years and has only a sprain is unlikely to have much in the way of future medical costs, but someone with ongoing severe conditions could have a large future medical cost.
For benefits other than medical costs, see my other posts regarding workers’ compensation benefits such as temporary total disability and permanent partial awards. Be aware though that the settlement only considers what has not been paid yet. So if you got 3 years of temporary total disability in the past that is not part of the settlement valuation because that has already been paid. But if it is possible that you will be off work again due to the injury you can argue future temporary total.
I had a client who had a partial knee replacement through the claim and wanted to settle. I argued that she may need a total knee replacement in the future because the partials do not last forever. This significantly added on to the settlement due to the future medical cost of the surgery and the post-op therapy. I also argued that she would need to be back off work for the surgery, so future temporary total disability also added into the value of the settlement.
When Can I Settle?
Any time that the claim is still open it can be settled. I would advise against settling a brand new claim because you do not know the full impact of your injury, and settlement would close the claim forever.
Most claims are open for five years from the last payment in the claim (except for a settlement). But many injured workers think their claim closed when they stopped treating or returned to work. If you had a workers’ compensation claim you should contact our firm to determine if that claim is still open and if you can receive a settlement.
There are more benefits than the ones I have explained here, but these are the ones most often asked about or saught. Of course, the benefits explained do not always apply – it depends on the particulars of the injury and the claim. You should call our firm if you think you are entitled to any of these benefits to find out more.