If you are thinking about settling your workers’ compensation claim, there are some important things to consider. You want to have enough information so that you do not sign a document that does not adequately provide you compensation and prevents you from ever reopening your claim if you later discover you still need medical treatment for your injury.

There are different ways a settlement may be structured. An experienced North Carolina Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you be sure your settlement is one that provides you all the benefits to which you are entitled.

Types of Benefits Provided by Workers’ Compensation

Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers are entitled to two types of benefits:workers compensation benefits

  • Payment of medical expenses. This includes your current expenses and all those you expect to have in the future due to your injury. Medical care means any care necessary to repair your injury and relieve your pain.
  • Payments for your disability and lost wages. You may be classified as temporarily or permanently partially disabled or permanently totally disabled. The rating is based on the expectations of whether you will ever be able to return to your former employment or perhaps be totally and permanently disabled so that you will never be able to work in any capacity ever again.

If you enter into a workers’ comp settlement, you want to be sure that both types of benefits are included in the settlement.

Types of Settlements

  • Temporarily disabled or partially disabled. If you are temporarily disabled and will be able to return to your former employment after a recovery period, or partially disabled and will be able to be employed but at a reduced wage, you are entitled to have your medical expenses paid and be compensated for your lost wages.
  • Permanently disabled. This is based on a complicated rating procedure. If certain criteria are met, you may be eligible to collect benefits for your medical expenses and lost wages for the remainder of your life. If you settle your claim and receive a lump sum of money under this type of settlement, you have two years to reopen your claim if you discover your medical expenses and lost wages benefits were not enough. If two years go by and you take no action to reopen the case, you lose your right to seek more benefits forever.
  • A “clincher” agreement. As a final settlement, this should include compensation for all medical expenses and lost wages you ever expect to incur. The agreement has to be approved by a workers’ compensation court judge. Once the court approves the settlement agreement, you give up forever your right to seek additional benefits.

Settling a workers’ compensation claim is a complicated process and all the pros and cons must be carefully considered. Contact us at Campbell & Associates for assistance.