Workers’ compensation insurance companies in New Jersey will often offer a settlement when you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). They usually do not wish to keep paying out for medical expenses or to keep issuing weekly checks indefinitely, especially if it doesn’t look like you’re going to be able to return to work anytime soon.
But how do you know when you are receiving a fair offer? After all, you know the insurance company is a lot more interested in saving money than in helping you. Lowball offers are common and should be expected early in the process.
While you should have a New Jersey workers’ compensation law firm like ours evaluate any settlement offer before accepting it, there are some general guidelines you can use to determine whether or not your settlement is fair.
Ask yourself the following questions.
What does the offer include?
Your offer should include coverage for the following:
- 100% of your past unpaid medical bills.
- Compensation for your unpaid lost wages.
- Compensation which addresses future medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
It is very common for insurance companies to ignore future needs on their first offer, or to offer a sum so paltry that it couldn’t even get you through a year.
If you don’t think the money is going to meet your needs, reach out to our law firm ASAP so we can discuss your claim.
Does the offer take all of the evidence into account?
Are they paying attention to all of your injuries? All of your doctor’s reports? Or only the ones that favor them and allow them to close out the case as quickly as possible? Are they trying to misclassify some of your injuries as pre-existing conditions, even though you’ve provided ample evidence that your injuries were sustained at work?
If you think that the insurance company is ignoring your needs, it’s usually time to bring in an attorney who can prompt them to come up with a serious offer.
The truth is they know that you don’t deal with these claims every day and you might not know what is and is not important. They’re hoping to get away with a settlement before you bring in an expert.
Are they pressuring you or manipulating you into taking the offer?
Insurance companies will hint at deadlines that don’t exist, will pretend they will never negotiate on the offer, will even guilt trip you if they think they can get away with it. You should never respond to emotional manipulation.
Get a lawyer instead.
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All settlement offers are subject to negotiation until they are signed. Once signed, you are usually barred from suing or receiving any more money unless your injury worsens or some other situation changes. Even the type of settlement you choose (Section 20 or Section 22) will help determine how much you receive and whether the settlement is a fair and reasonable offer.
Don’t try to navigate the settlement process without a lawyer. Call Talone Law to get started today.