Generally speaking based upon your conversation with you and your attorney you decide when it is a good time to propose settlement of your workers’ compensation claim. On occasion the insurance company may initiate the conversation.
Then based upon your income benefits, medical benefits, permanent impairment rating and over all future health a numbers evaluation is done. This varies greatly depending upon if you are receiving income benefits and at what rate of pay. You medical care and the evaluation of your future medical care will also have a direct impact upon your weekly checks and if you will continue to receive them. Lastly is the impairment rating which you may or may not have not been given a rating.
Then you present what is known as either your settlement proposal or demand package to the insurance company or their representative. Depending upon the nature of your claim there maybe need for a settlement mediation, if so one will have to be scheduled where all parties will meet to attempt to settle your claim. If not the insurance company will make an offer.
Typically speaking most claims go back and forth in negotiations several times prior to either settlement negotiations stopping or settling the matter. The details of negotiations your attorney can help you. Do not be discouraged by the low initial offer. This is often a negotiation technique used by the insurance company to wear you down. Stay the course to obtain your goal which is finding out what is the maximum amount of settlement authority they have for your claim. Once you know that value you must then make the decision, do I settle or continue to fight with the workers’ compensation insurance company.
In some instances the settlement documents will be drafted with all the information except for the final settlement amount. If that is the case you can sign your “Stipulation & Settlement Agreement” at that time if it is not ready you usually will receive it in a week or so.
Once both parties sign the document and file it with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, it is in the Board’s hands. They generally do a good job of approving the Stips however sometimes they have a huge influx of papers and the turn around process may take longer than a couple of days.
Your attorney will receive e-mail notification upon the Stipulation & Settlement agreement being approved. Then then insurance company has 20 days by law before they face penalties for untimely payment. Most companies are glad to be done with the claim and want to resolve it timely, however every now and then the insurance will not pay in time and then you seek penalties for untimely payment.