How long it takes to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement varies from one claim to another, as several factors could affect the duration of the claims process.
There is no specific timetable for completing a workers’ compensation settlement. However, certain stages of the claims process may require waiting periods or deadlines, which may give you an idea of how long it might take for your claim to settle. Ultimately, you may need to discuss your case with a law firm representative to get an accurate timeline estimate.
Some Timeframes for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Though there is no way to say for certain how long it will take to negotiate your workers’ compensation settlement, some guidelines may provide you with a general understanding of what may be involved in your workers’ compensation case.
For example, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) explains that if your employer or their insurance company contests your claim, you may have to wait six to nine months for an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review and rule on your claim.
The time it takes you to file your claim may also impact how long it will take for you to negotiate a settlement. According to the LWC, you must file your claim no later than one year from the date you acquired your injury or illness. The relative speed with which you file your claim may alter your timeframe for negotiating a settlement.
Other deadlines dictate when you must file certain documents and how long you have to complete your benefits claim. Other procedures might also affect your ability to obtain benefits or negotiate a settlement. RS 23:1271 notes that generally, you must wait six months from the last Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefit payment to negotiate a settlement. However, parties may agree to waive this prohibitive period.
In short, several variables might affect how long it takes for you to secure benefits or negotiate a settlement. A law firm representative may explain with more accuracy what your timeframe for completing your claim will look like.
Your Employer May Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
One factor that may determine how long it takes for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits is whether your employer or their insurance company disputes the facts of your work-related injury or illness.
There are several ways that an employer or insurer might attempt to stall or obstruct your pursuit of workers’ compensation, such as:
- Alleging that you were engaged in horseplay or another dangerous physical activity not related to your work, and this caused your injury
- Alleging that you were intoxicated at the time of your injury
- Claiming your injury or illness is not covered for some other reason
- Alleging that the medical care you received was unnecessary and should not be covered
The process for resolving a disputed claim may extend the claims process. Your lawyer can defend you against allegations and disputes by gathering and citing evidence that supports your claim about how your injury or illness occurred.
In other cases, processing a claim may be straightforward. If your employer and their insurance company do not contest the facts of your incident, resolving your claim might be a matter of completing basic administrative processes.
The Insurance Company May Contest Permanent Impairment
If you have suffered a permanent injury due to your incident, but the insurance company disagrees with you and your doctor about the extent of your impairment, this could delay your case.
In Louisiana, permanent impairments are measured as a percentage. For example, your doctor may have told you your impairment is 50 percent, but if the insurance company says your impairment is only 30 percent, this could delay your case significantly. It could also affect how much you receive in damages.
Impairment ratings can greatly affect the timing and outcome of a settlement. For this reason, insurance companies often focus on it during settlement negotiations. A lawyer from our firm can provide evidence for your doctor’s impairment rating. Your lawyer can represent you in court if necessary.
Your Employer or Their Insurer May Try to Stop You Entirely
Your employer might try to discourage you from filing a worker’s compensation claim in the first place, or the insurer may try to prevent you from filing a lawsuit. In situations like these, a lawyer from our firm can help you.
Your lawyer can protect your rights, represent your needs, and file your claim or lawsuit for you. You don’t have to take on your employer and their insurer alone.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
Other Factors That Can Affect Settlement Time
In addition to your employer and their insurer, other factors can affect the length of time it will take to settle your workers’ compensation claim. These can include:
- The kinds of injuries you have
- The severity of your injuries
- Your recovery time
- Whether you’ll be able to recover completely from your injuries
- If you want to negotiate or accept the insurer’s offer
- If you decide to take your case to a hearing
- Whether you need to appeal a decision from the insurer
- Whether you work with a lawyer
Don’t Get Discouraged About Your Case Taking Time
Even if multiple factors affect your case settlement, you should still pursue it. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and the responsible party deserves to be held accountable. If you’re worried about your settlement taking time, you can call our law firm for a free case evaluation.
A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You Prepare Your Case
If you are unfamiliar with the workers’ compensation process, it might be difficult to understand how to bring a claim effectively, especially if you also have other concerns, like your health. Hiring a lawyer to handle your claim may save you the time and effort required to file a claim on your own, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injury or illness.
Your lawyer can handle as much of the claims process as possible, which may include:
- Collecting evidence related to your accident, injury, or illness
- Collecting witness testimony
- Hiring experts to recreate your accident
- Determining the value of benefits you might be entitled to receive
- Filing your claim
- Handling communications with insurers and your employer
- Handling legal processes, such as mediation, should they arise
- Negotiating a settlement on your behalf
Your lawyer can work to resolve your claim and handle any appeals necessary if your initial result is not positive.
Our Firm Can Help You With a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial
If you’re issued a claim denial but believe your claim is legitimate, you can appeal the ruling. Our firm can help you with your appeal.
The insurance company may have legitimate reasons for denying your claim, but you may have legitimate reasons for appealing. There are many gray areas in the law, but a lawyer from our firm can help make your case clear.
Your Lawyer May Help You Negotiate How You Get Paid
In a workers’ compensation settlement, typically, the claimant gets paid weekly or monthly. However, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a lump-sum payment instead. Your lawyer can discuss this option with you during a consultation.
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Wants to Help You with Your Case
A lawyer from our firm can help you seek workers’ compensation and handle your claim so you can focus on your recovery. Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation about how we may assist you or a loved one.