I recently received a call from a potential client who stated they were released to full duty and now want to settle their claim, they called me to find out what to do?
Settlement of Georgia workers’ compensation claims are completely optional. That means the workers’ compensation insurance company does not have to settle your workers’ compensation claim.
If and when they settle a claim it is typically to reduce their exposure on a claim where medical treatment is on-going and they are paying weekly benefit checks.
If an injured worker has been released to full duty, the likelihood of additional medical care is reduced substantially. Equally important, if the injured worker has been released to full duty, they can go back to work and if they were receiving weekly checks, they will likely be stopped or suspended. The last item to determine is did the doctor issue an impairment rating or when he released you to full duty did he say you have a zero percent impairment?
That said, if the insurance company settles claims based upon what they must pay in the future and as in this claim there is little anticipated medical care and little to no weekly benefit checks, and the doctor has issued a zero percent impairment, the likelihood of a settlement is substantially reduced. The insurance company may provide a settlement number, however I suspect the value will be very low.
The reality is if you know your not going to return to the employer after you have been injured either because of the nature of the injury or you have seen how the employer finds ways of terminating previously injured employees once they have been returned to full duty work. You are always best served to obtain or speak with legal counsel early in your claim to best determine what your rights are and what you can do to protect your interest. If not it is like cutting your arm off and waiting for six months and then going to a doctor and saying help me with my arm.
Ty Wilson is a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney, who has written several special reports on Georgia workers’ compensation claims and provides them for free just call our offices in Savannah at 912-508-4711 or Atlanta 770-948-5454.