Get Cash for Your Claim!
Cleveland Workers’ Compensation Settlement Lawyer
A Lump Sum Settlement (LSS) of your claim for cash is always a possibility, but it takes the skill of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to guide you through the process and make sure that any settlement properly compensates you for potential future benefits and medical expenses. At Martin S. Horwitz, Attorney at Law, as a Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist, I have 35 years of experience in the settlement process. I have even settled claims that were 20-30 years old! Even if you don’t have you old paperwork or claim number, or if you now live out of town, I can help you.
There are many factors that need to be considered in a cash settlement. These include:
- The age of the claim.
- The potential for future indemnity benefits such as Temporary Total, Vocational Rehabilitation, Wage Loss, Permanent Partial Disability or Permanent and Total Disability.
- The need for current and future medical treatment.
- The possibility of additional medical conditions to be added to the claim.
- The type of employer-“state fund” vs. “self-insured.”
- In complex claims, the possibility of numerous hearings and appeals or prolonged litigation.
- The age of the claimant
- The amount and nature of benefits and compensation that already have been paid out.
- Other benefits the claimant may be receiving such as Medicare.
With a FREE no obligation phone consultation, I can review these issues with you to determine the CASH VALUE of a SETTLEMENT.
The following FAQ’s will help you understand more of the settlement process:
1) Can every case be settled?
We can try. We can attempt to settle a claim at any stage of the process. The claimant can always propose a settlement to the employer. If both parties are in agreement, along with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the claim can be settled. However, a claimant can never force a settlement. If the employer refuses, or if the BWC feels it’s not in the claimant’s best interest, the claim will not settle.
2) Why would an employer settle a claim?
The simple answer is-it may be in his best financial interest. The employer may have many claims outstanding and a settlement may help reduce his premium. Or an employer may recognize that due to the seriousness of the injury there will be extensive medical bills, lost wages and other benefits paid out over the years. Or the employer may face prolonged litigation costs which would be avoided with settlement.
3) How do I know a cash settlement is right for me?
This is the hardest question to answer because every situation is different. If you are actively receiving benefits, you need to weigh the possibility of future benefits and the hassle and hearings it will take to get them, over the chance to get slightly less money all at once. Or, if you have exhausted most of your benefits and you are back to work, a lump sum settlement may be the last step in your claim. At Martin S. Horwitz, Attorney at Law, based on 35 years of specializing in workers’ compensation claim settlements, I can give you a FREE accurate, honest review of your claim. You can then make an informed decision on how to proceed.
4) I had a claim a few years ago and received a cash payment? I thought my claim was settled. Can I still get money?
This is the most common question I am asked. In many claims, the claimant receives Temporary Total benefits for the weeks or months he is off work. Then close to a year later he may receive a check for a Permanent Partial award. Often a claimant does not hear from his attorney after that time. He is no longer treating, has returned to work, and is under the impression the case is closed. The reality is that his claim may still be open from 5 to 10 years after that check was received. Call Martin S. Horwitz, Attorney at Law today for a FREE SETTLEMENT REVIEW and through specialized software I can quickly determine if your claim is still open and a lump sum settlement is an option.
5) Do I get a bigger settlement if I wait longer?
This is a myth. Because of the politics involved in the workers’ compensation system, the BWC assumes you are getting better each year you go without any medical treatment or awards of compensation. They do not assume you are getting worse. If, in fact, you now have arthritis or other degenerative problems that developed as a direct result of your injury, these should be allowed in the claim before any settlement discussions begin.
6) I received a letter from my employer (or from the BWC) offering to settle my claim? What does this mean? Is it a good sign? Will I be fairly compensated?
There are many reasons an employer sends out a letter offering to settle.
- With unrepresented claimants, the employer is often trying to find a claimant who wants fast cash. Since the claimant has no attorney, and no idea of the worth of his claim, the employer can talk the claimant into a settlement for a low value.
- Often in a complicated claim with long term disability and multiple treatments and surgeries, the employer may want to limit his liability. He is willing to make one large payment for the security of knowing that his liability, attorney fees and unknown future expenses are finished.
- The employer pays a premium for coverage based on the number of claims at his company over a period of time. If there are too many claims, his premium may go up. If he can reduce the number of claims through settlement, he may be able to keep his premiums down.
- Will you receive a fair settlement? NO! Your employer and the BWC are protecting their financial interests. Without a lawyer, there is no one advocating for you. Also, you have no expertise in this kind of negotiation. How do you know what is a “fair value?”
7) What factors are considered in a lump sum settlement?
I review all the benefits that have been paid, the potential for future benefits and the potential for future additional medical treatment or other forms of compensation. If benefits are currently being paid, I look at the possibility of them continuing, or being cut off. Pain and suffering is not considered in an evaluation. Medical records and reports that are in the file are very helpful. If the claim is older, I will often obtain a more recent medical report to reflect the Claimant’s current physical condition.
8) Can I settle my claim, but keep it open for future medical treatment?
Yes, this kind of arrangement is possible if all parties agree. You would be settling for the “indemnity” portion of the claim. These are all the compensation benefits you might receive, other than medical payments.
9) If I am on Permanent and Total Disability (PTD), and getting payments every week for the rest of my life, why would I want to settle my claim?
There are many reasons to settle a Permanent and Total Disability claim.
- Get cash quickly, no more weekly payments.
- Avoid the bureaucracy of dealing with the BWC, especially if medical or pharmacy requests are routinely turned down, or you are out of town and cannot continue to come back to Ohio for hearings.
- Create a cash estate for your family when you pass away. Remember, PTD benefits will end at the death of the claimant. You can often settle the indemnity portion of your claim, keep your Social Security coming in, continue to have the BWC cover your medical bills and still leave something for your family.
10) Will a Lump Sum Settlement impact my Medicare or Social Security?
Depending on the amount of the settlement, some money may have to be set aside for medical and pharmacy bills before Medicare would pick up coverage. A settlement should not impact on Social Security benefits.
11) If I settled a claim in the past, can I open it again?
No. When you accept a lump sum settlement, that claim is closed, even if your condition becomes worse and you need medical attention. However, if you injure yourself a few years later, you may have a new injury claim for the same body part, or a claim for a “substantial aggravation of a pre-existing condition.”