Whether you should accept your first workers’ compensation offer is a completely personal decision. Every workers’ compensation claim is unique, as is every settlement offer extended by an insurance company handling workers’ compensation payouts.
You may be able to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to advise you on the merits and flaws of a certain workers’ compensation offer. Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS) §23:1271 states that both parties must agree to a workers’ compensation settlement in Louisiana. In other words, you are not compelled to say yes to an offer that is not suitable.
What Determines the Fairness of a Settlement Offer
You may choose to negotiate a settlement as a resolution to a workers’ compensation claim, and the insurance company responsible for compensating you may do the same. Some of the reasons why you may attempt to obtain a settlement include:
- You would like a lump sum rather than continued benefits paid over time
- You would like to discontinue your dealings with an insurance company and other parties involved in your workers’ compensation claim as quickly as you can
- You believe that you or a lawyer can negotiate a settlement that compensates you fairly
An insurance company may also have an interest in resolving your claim, as they may generally like to resolve the issue and get your claim off of their books rather than continuing to dedicate resources to your case.
With this in mind, you may not want to accept a less-than-fair settlement offer in the name of putting your claim to rest. If you work with a lawyer on your case, they may have a fair settlement figure in mind before entering settlement negotiations. That figure may be based on several factors, including:
- The amount of wages that you have lost to date because of a work-related injury or illness
- The specific injury or illness you have suffered
- Whether the injury or illness you have suffered is likely to prevent you from working in the future
- Whether you are able to work with the injury or illness in question, but at a diminished capacity
- The amount of medical costs you have already accrued
- The amount of medical costs you may accrue in the future
- How long it may take for you to recover from your injury
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) notes that lost income and medical costs are two of the losses that workers’ compensation may account for. Your lawyer may consider the extent of these losses in order to determine fair compensation, and in turn whether you should accept the first workers’ compensation offer that you receive.
A Lawyer Can Handle Every Aspect of Your Claim
Negotiating a settlement is just one of the possible ways that a lawyer may assist with your workers’ compensation claim. In a general sense, a workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to:
- Provide advice based on their understanding of Louisiana’s workers’ compensation laws
- Communicate with all parties on your behalf
- Lay out a strategy for you to seek compensation for your losses
- File and complete your workers’ compensation claim
You could face allegations from your employer or their insurance company that you were engaged in wrongdoing that led to an injury, or that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for some other reason. A workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to refute such claims with evidence in your defense.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
You may be able to receive both workers’ compensation and compensation from a personal injury lawsuit under certain circumstances, such as if you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence while you were on the job.
If you qualify, a workers’ compensation lawyer may also be able to help you pursue compensation in a personal injury lawsuit against any third party whose negligence contributed to your work injury.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers helps injured workers in Lafayette and Alexandria. If you are wondering if you should accept your first workers’ compensation offer, call us today at (337) 777-7777 for a free case review with a member of our team.
If you qualify, we may be able to represent you on a contingency-fee-basis and handle all legal work related to your claim so that you may focus on recovering from your injury or illness.