Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company is willing to settle your claim, but the settlement offer is less than the amount that your attorney requested. Now, you aren’t sure whether to take the money from the insurance company or to keep fighting for additional compensation.
In Iowa, a workers’ compensation settlement may take several different forms, and a settlement may impact your future rights. Before you agree to a settlement, we encourage you to consider the type of settlement that is being offered, the pros and cons of accepting the settlement, and most importantly how the settlement could impact your future.
Six Types of Iowa Workers’ Compensation Settlements
There are different ways to structure Iowa workers’ compensation settlements. The two most common types of settlements are:
- Agreement Settlements. If you and the insurance company agree on the amount of benefits and terms of the settlement, then you can file an agreement settlement with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Your workers’ comp case is not closed when an agreement settlement is reached. Instead, you continue to receive weekly benefits and medical care. You may also have the right to seek additional benefits if your condition worsens.
- Compromise Settlements. If there is a dispute about your entitlement to benefits, then a party may file a compromise settlement with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. If the compromise settlement is approved, then your case is complete, and you may not seek additional benefits for your injury in the future.
Your agreement settlement or compromise settlement may also include a:
- Contingent Settlement. A contingent settlement is made when something specific, such as court or Medicare approval, must happen. If the event identified as the contingency occurs then the settlement goes into effect. If the contingency does not occur, then there is no settlement.
- Combination Settlement. Part of the claim may be decided by an agreement settlement, and the other part may be decided by a compromise settlement.
- Lump Sum Payments – Full Commutation. Most Iowa workers’ comp settlements are paid over time, but in some cases you may receive a one-time lump sum payment for future benefits. A full commutation ends your rights to seek additional benefits in the future.
- Lump Sum Payments – Partial Commutation. In some cases where a lump sum is paid only a portion of your future payments may be paid out in a lump sum. Under this type of settlement, you retain your right to seek additional benefits, if needed, later.
Things to Think About Before Settling a Workers’ Comp Claim
Whatever form your specific settlement offer takes, it is important to think about whether the amount fairly represents the benefits Iowa law allows. Accordingly, it is important to consider:
- Any future medical care that you might need. You may not want to settle your claim until you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement. At that point, you will know the full extent of your injuries, and you can realistically anticipate future medical costs.
- Any temporary or permanent disabilities you may suffer. Whether your disability is temporary or permanent, partial or full, it could impact your future income.
- The time it may take to resolve your claim if you go to a hearing. Waiting for a hearing can be frustrating and stressful. You may want to settle your claim if you can do so fairly.
- Your current needs. You may have specific financial needs, a family situation, or personal reasons for settling your claim quickly.
The factors described above give you a lot to consider, and you may come to a different conclusion about settling your case as you think about each of them. The analysis can be complicated, and your decision is critically important to your future.
Get Personalized Professional Advice Before You Settle
Above, we explain the different types of Iowa workers’ compensation settlements and some general things to consider before you make a decision. However, your case is unique, and you deserve to be fully confident in your settlement decision.
Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can make sure that all of your rights are protected. We will review the type of settlement that is being offered to you and the proposed settlement terms, and we won’t hesitate to negotiate or to turn down a settlement if it is not in your best interests.
Tell the insurance company that you mean business. Contact Hupy and Abraham today for a free consultation about your rights under Iowa workers’ compensation law and how we can help you resolve your claim fairly.