Should an injured worker in Mississippi take a lump sum settlement and close medicals? Should an injured worker settle the wage portion only and leave medicals open? Should an injured worker settle the wages and medical portion of the claim? Or should an injured worker take their claim to a final hearing? Once an injured worker in Mississippi reaches Maximum Medical Improvement he/or she has some decisions to make. One of those decisions will likely be whether to settle the case and take a lump sum or keep the case open and continue to get paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The options at the end of a comp case are 1) go to a hearing on the merits(have a trial), 2) Settle the wage portion of the claim and leave the medicals open, or 3) Settle both the wage portion and the medical portion of the claim.
Benefits of Settlement
Most of the time closing the claim and taking a lump sum settlement is best for an injured worker. Why? First, treatment for injuries in a workers’ compensation case is often delayed even with a great attorney on your side. When a doctor recommends treatment or procedures in a workers’ compensation case, that treatment always has to be approved by the insurance carrier first. Waiting on approvals causes delays. Second, two thirds of your wages is difficult to survive on. Third, proceeding to a hearing is stressful, expensive, and time consuming. Also, even if your case is won at a hearing, it is likely the defense will file an appeal which will delay the case for many more months.
Should you choose to leave medicals open, the insurance company will be required to pay for all medical treatments related to your injury for your life. However, you must see a doctor at least once per year for the injury, or the insurance company can close your claim. And remember, you still have to get approvals for all treatments.
A lump sum settlement will include lost wages and an estimate of your future medical needs. The best thing about taking a lump sum is that it gives the injured worker control. No more approvals for treatment are needed. If you want to see your doctor, just go! If your doctor recommends a treatment and you want it, just do it!
Some cases are destined to go to a final hearing, and that is fine. We will fight hard to prevail for our clients in those situations. However, if compromise is an option, that is usually better for everyone involved.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill