As in any case where insurance companies are involved, you will typically receive some sort of settlement offer in your case. And at times, the offer won’t be a very good one.
Fortunately, you can reject the offer. And the case isn’t over when you do.
See also: 8 Workman’s Comp Mistakes to Avoid.
Step #1: Your NJ Workman’s Comp Attorney Renegotiates the Settlement
The next step requires an attorney if you don’t have one already. Your attorney will sit down with the insurance company and a Judge of Compensation. Together, everyone will review the settlement offer and discuss the problems that caused you to reject it.
Usually the insurance company will issue a new offer.
Step #2: Evaluating the New Offer
If, after discussing the new offer with your attorney, you determine that it’s fair and workable, you can accept it with no further modification. If not, you can reject it again.
If you do this, the matter will proceed to trial.
Step #3: Trial
The matter will also probably proceed to trial if the insurance company digs in its heels and refuses to modify the offer at all.
This won’t be a jury trial. The same Judge of Compensation will hear the whole thing. But this time, we’ll be able to bring in medical experts who can testify to the severity of your condition and outline the reasons why you need the money you’ve been asking for.
In some cases, we’ll want to bring in other experts as well.
The judge will award a final amount in a written decision. Once the decision is made it can be appealed, but for most people the case will end right there.
So, how do you evaluate a workman’s comp offer?
There are four common problems with workman’s comp offers that should cause you to consider a rejection.
- The offer doesn’t provide enough money to cover your future medical care.
- The offer doesn’t compensate you for lost wages.
- The offer doesn’t provide disability compensation.
- The phrasing of the offer will prevent you from receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits in the future.
If you’re not sure whether the offer is a good one, be sure to get it checked over by a New Jersey Workman’s Comp attorney. You don’t want to make a rash decision that will put you in a weaker decision later, and it can be hard for a layperson to determine what is and isn’t fair, reasonable, or likely to give you what you need.