Answering the question “should I settle my NC workers’ comp case” is among the most difficult questions a NC workers’ comp lawyer regularly faces. It requires an analysis of the value of the benefits the injured worker is releasing, as well as an evaluation of how the settlement will affect the workers access to other available benefits.
In order to determine the value of a NC workers’ comp claim you must first determine the medical treatment you are likely to need and the cost of that treatment, now and in the future. Also, you must factor in the remaining wage replacement benefits, including total disability and partial disability payments. Insurance companies are very good at estimating the future value of workers’ compensation cases.
Another important consideration is coordinating the workers’ comp benefits with other available benefits. Other benefits include social security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, private long or short term disability policies, and social security retirement. Settling your NC workers’ compensation case without regard to how it may affect these other benefits can be a serious mistake.
Not surprisingly, Medicare takes a dim view of a NC “workmans” comp claimant settling their case and then coming to Medicare to pay for medical treatment related to the injured arm, leg or back. In fact, the law requires that injured workers consider Medicare’s interest in settling their nc workers’ comp claim. Lawyers have made careers from evaluating the potential effects of workers’ comp settlements on future Medicare benefits.
Social Security disability payments may be dramatically affected if the NC workers’ comp “clincher” or settlement documents do not properly “offset” payments so that they are treated as being paid out over the lifetime of the employee. There are several methods for calculating these offsets and the injured worker is entitled to pick the one that works best for them. If the worker fails to do this Social Security will determine how the funds are treated, often to the detriment of the worker.
If you were injured on the job in North Carolina you should consult an experienced NC workers’ comp attorney to help you answer the question, “Should I settle my NC Workers’ Comp Case.”
KevinBunn is a NC Board Certified Expert workers’ compensation attorney, located convenient to Cary, Durham, Raleigh, Fuquay, Apex, Wilson, Rocky Mount, Greenville, and other NC locations. Please call or email if you would like a free consultation with a Raleigh area workers’ compensation lawyer.