One of the biggest concerns our clients have about work injury claims has to do with the lump sum payout. How much will you get and when will you get it?
Most of the time we are able to reach an agreement with the insurance company for a lump sum settlement but understand that the insurance company does not have to settle and there is no process under the law to recover a verdict or award. That being said, our experience has been that a properly documented and managed claim will usually result in a lump sum settlement.
How much will I get? Obviously we want to recover as much as we can for you. Here are some of the factors that go into settlements:
- severity of your injury (although pain and suffering is not a consideration in workers’ compensation cases)
- how well you have recovered
- likelihood future treatment, including surgery, will be necessary
- your compensation rate (i.e., how much is your average weekly wage)
- presence of any negative information (i.e., evidence of drug or alcohol use, damaging surveillance videos)
- timing (i.e., your need for money sooner rather than later)
- our knowledge, experience and expertise in building a strong case on your behalf
How to Maximize Your Settlement
You can help us help you but keeping the following suggestions in mind:
- cooperate with your doctor
- keep us informed about how your treatment is going and how you are feeling
- be very precise when talking to your doctor and/or nurse case manager
- if there is information that may be harmful to your case, let your lawyer know early on
talk to your lawyer before getting involved with other legal matters such as bankruptcy, Social Security, or divorce
- let your lawyer know about any issues as soon as possible – there is not much we can do at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon
- remember that we are on your side
Cost of Lawyer – Ginsberg Law Offices represents workers compensation clients using a contingency fee contract. This means that we get paid 25% of any lump sum settlement we recover for you. Unlike some of our competitors we do not claim 25% of your weekly wage benefits. When we assume representation we submit our signed fee contract to the State Board of Workers’s Compensation. Although we have used the same fee contract for 20+ years, the State Board has to approve our fee contract when it reviews and approves settlements.
Role of State Board – all workers’ compensation claims filed in Georgia are under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. The State Board serves as the court system for work injury claims although it functions differently than other state court systems.
Technically the State Board is part of the Executive Branch of state government, meaning that it is part of the governor’s office. There are no jury trials at the State Board and there are no verdicts issued by State Board judges. Instead the judges at the State Board make rulings about specific issues – such as:
- did this accident arise out of and in the course of employment?
- was this employee on the job and covered, or on his way home and not covered?
- was this employee’s injury pre-existing and therefore not covered?
- should this employee be permitted to see a new doctor?
- has this worker recovered sufficiently to return to full duty work?
The State Board cannot force the insurance company to offer you a lump sum, nor can it force you to accept a lump sum. Settlement is a matter of negotiation between the parties