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  • How do you know when is the right time to settle your Louisiana Workers Compensation claim?
  • How do you figure out how much your Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement should be?  

There are two good sources of information to help you decide if it’s the right time to try to reach a Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement: 

·         First, talk to your doctors and get copies of your medical records. Ask your doctors about your future treatment options and the impact of your medical condition upon your ability to return to work. Find out what your doctors will tell the insurance company about your need for future medical treatment and your work related limitations, now and in the future.

·         Secondly, talk to an experienced Louisiana Workers Compensation attorney about how the Louisiana Workers Compensation laws relate to your case. You need to be able to make realistic estimates about what's likely to happen if you don't settle your claim. You also need to know what impact a Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement might have on your ability to get future medical treatment, a new job, Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance, long-term disability benefits or Louisiana Workers Compensation benefits if you have another injury. Ask the lawyer a lot of questions.  What if you know you can never go back to work on a regular basis? What if you already know about a job that you would like to pursue? What if your doctor says you need another surgery but you really don't want to get it? What if you feel like you need more medical treatment and your doctor doesn't seem to understand? What if the insurance company might have video of you exceeding the limitations your doctor said you should follow? How will a settlement impact your spouse or children? Ask. Ask. Ask. That is what the lawyer is there for - to provide you with advice and to be your advocate.

If you have a significant injury, you will not be able to make an informed decision about whether and when to resolve your claim until after you talk to your doctors and talk to a lawyer.

The timing of your Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement is a very important factor that impacts how much you will be paid in resolution of your claim. If the insurance company makes you an offer to settle your claim, you've probably waited too long. Don't wait for them to make the first move. You should always make the first offer, and back it up with strong evidence and a good legal argument. Once the insurance company representatives make up their minds about how much they think your Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement should be, it's a real challenge to get them to pay substantially more. 

If you wait until after you’ve had a Functional Capacity Evaluation, the insurance company's Vocational Expert has compiled a list of jobs they claim are available in your area, and your doctor has released you to return to work, you have probably waited too long.  It’s going to be very difficult to convince a Judge that you are not able to return to work when your own doctor, who may have treated you for years, says you can. That doesn’t necessarily mean the doctor is right, but it will provide the insurance company representatives with evidence that shows you can return to some type of work. At this point, the insurance company may believe they are justified in stopping or reducing your benefits. You will then be in the position of trying to negotiate a Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement while you have no income coming in or while you are trying to find a job.

In all of these situations, you can still settle your claim. But you may have passed up the type of settlement you could have received if you had made a well-timed offer backed up by a clear description of how the medical evidence supports your case and a detailed explanation of the important areas in which the law is on your side. 

What can you recover when you settle your Workers Compensation claim? A Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement is an agreement in which a Workers Compensation insurance company pays an injured employee, in a single lump-sum payment, or in guaranteed annual payments, part or all of the wage benefits and medical benefits that the employee would otherwise be expected to receive on a periodic basis. The parties may also settle any claims that the employee may have for overdue benefits, penalties and attorney's fees. 

Some of the most important factors you and your attorney need to consider when figuring out the appropriate settlement for your claim are:

  • Have you applied for Social Security Disability? Click here for more information about why this is important.
  • What medical treatment will you need in the future and how much will it cost?
  • Do you expect your doctors will release you to return to work? Have you asked your doctors what they think about your work capabilities, now or in the future?
  • Has the insurance company's doctor or an Independent Medical Examiner released you to return to work?
  • Do you believe you’re able to return to work, even if it’s only to a part-time or light duty position?
  • Does the employer you were working for at the time you were injured have a job available for you now?
  • What was your income before you were injured?
  • How does you pre-injury income compare to the income you’re currently earning or are currently able to earn? Answering this question involves determining the exact restrictions imposed by your doctors and the results of any Functional Capacity Evaluation or Labor Market Survey performed during your claim.
  • Are all of the medical problems and issues that impact your ability to work well documented in your medical records? Do you have medical problems that you have not discussed with you doctor? 
  • Are you owed wage benefits, or penalties and attorney’s fees, because your benefits were underpaid or terminated?

People receive widely varying amounts from a Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement. Though you can calculate the net present value of your right to receive Louisiana Workers Compensation benefits in the future, there is no formula to calculate exactly how much your Louisiana Workers Compensation settlement should be. 

I offer a free telephone consultation so you can get a general overview of how the law applies to your case, understand what some of your options are and determine whether a settlement would be appropriate. Call my office (800) 851-9405 or send me an email using the form at the top of this page to schedule a free telephone consultation to discuss your case.

             Next: Do You Need A Lawyer For Your Louisiana Workers Compensation Case?             


David Buie, Louisiana Workers Compensation Attorney and Social Security Disability Attorney, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1400, New Orleans, LA 70131, (800) 851-9405 / Fax: (866) 702-5297 Representing claimants in:
Alexandria Baton Rouge Bossier City Covington Gretna
Hammond Harahan Harvey Houma Kenner Lafayette Lake Charles
Laplace Marrero Metairie Monroe New Iberia New Orleans
Opelousas Ruston Shreveport Slidell Terrytown

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