Workers’ Compensation Settlements in California
At some point, most injured workers will consider workers’ compensation settlements. However, a settlement isn’t something you should take lightly — and you should always consult with a Pasadena CA workers’ compensation lawyer before you agree to a settlement. Learn more about workers’ compensation settlements below.
Understanding How California Workers’ Compensation Settlements Work
In California, there are two forms of workers’ compensation settlements:
- Compromise and Release: a full and final settlement. In exchange for a lump sum payment, you give up your right to any additional workers’ compensation benefits.
- Stipulated Findings and Award: you and the insurance company agree on the value of your claim and it agrees to pay this amount and your related medical treatment. If your condition worsens within five years of entering a Stipulated Findings and Award, you can petition to reopen your claim.
Depending on your unique circumstances, one form might suit your needs more than the other. For example, if your conditions are stabilized and you no longer need serious medical treatment, you might prefer a Compromise and Release (which typically involve higher settlement amounts).
Workers’ compensation settlements typically involve a series of negotiations. Before you start discussing settlement, it’s best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you understand the value of your claim and whether a settlement is in your best interests. A lawyer can also help you build a workers’ compensation settlement strategy that meets your both your short and long-term goals.
Once you agree to a settlement, you’ll have to present it to the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). The judge will schedule an informal hearing to review your settlement. Your lawyer will guide you through the hearing and make sure you understand its terms and conditions. Typically, you’ll receive a settlement check within a month of your WCAB hearing.
When Should I Settle My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Not every injured worker should settle their workers’ compensation claim. If you have very serious injuries that require long-term care and intensive therapy, you should be very cautious about settling your claim. Your lawyer can help you understand and time your settlement so that it’s in your best interests.
However, workers’ compensation settlements are sometimes a good option if:
- Your condition has stabilized and you no longer need a lot of medical care
- You’ve returned to work and you’re doing well
- You have another source of health insurance through your employer or a government agency
- There are issues with your evidence and the insurance company is disputing your claim
- Your personal goals and priorities
While injured workers sometimes want workers’ compensation settlement because they’re in dire financial circumstances, you should be careful. Settling your claim to meet your short-term financial needs can have catastrophic effects in the long-term.
For example, suppose you enter a Compromise and Release for a modest amount of money. You use the settlement to pay your day-to-day bills, like your rent and car payment. A year later, your condition worsens, and you need a major surgery. Because you entered a full and final settlement, you’ll have to find other payment and income sources for your medical care and recovery time.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether to settle your workers’ compensation claim. However, we understand how overwhelming this decision can feel. At Dewberry Law, we guide our clients through a careful analysis, looking at the strength of their claims, their physical and emotional recovery, and other factors. If you’re unsure about whether you should settle your claim, request a free consultation.
How Much Are Workers’ Compensation Settlements Worth?
Every workers’ compensation claim is different. There isn’t a simple formula that determines your claim’s value — especially when you’re entering a Compromise and Release. While your best option is to consult with a Pasadena CA workers’ compensation lawyer, the amount you’ll get in a settlement depends on:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you can return to work
- The type of medical care you need
- The strength of the evidence supporting your claim
- Your average weekly wage
- Your age, education, and work experience
Our lawyers take time to understand our clients’ claims and the unique factors that impact their claims and their value.
Injured workers deserve accurate, honest, and practical advice that is tailored to them — not cookie-cutter legal services. At Dewberry Law, we pride ourselves on attention to detail and an exceptional client experience. For a personalized assessment of your workers’ compensation claim’s value, contact Dewberry Law today.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Settle My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
While you don’t need a lawyer for workers’ compensation settlements, it’s almost always in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney. Most injured workers don’t have the legal and technical knowledge to properly value and negotiate their claim. You might make costly mistakes if you try to settle your case on your own.
The insurance company and its lawyers are not on your side. In fact, they’re primary goal is reducing your settlement’s value and pressuring you to enter a Compromise and Release. And while the WCAB judge will review your settlement’s fairness, they typically approve workers’ compensation settlements if the injured workers seems to understand its terms and conditions. We don’t want you to enter a settlement you’ll quickly regret.
At Dewberry Law, we tirelessly advocate for injured workers. When you work with us, we’ll do our best to ensure that you understand your options and that your workers’ compensation settlement is fair. And because we understand how confusing the workers’ compensation claim process can be, we’ll take the time necessary to educate you about your rights and options. To learn more about our services, contact us today.
Learn More About Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Dewberry Law is a Pasadena CA workers’ compensation law firm that serves injured workers and their families. To learn more about workers’ compensation settlements and how we might help you, contact us for a free, no-risk evaluation today.