One of the frequent questions we are asked is regarding the settlement of a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. In fact, there is a page on our website just devoted to settlements. When considering whether to settle his or her case, there are several things an injured worker should consider. Initially, it is important to note that not every workers’ comp case settles. Workers’ compensation benefits can end for a variety of reasons, other than a settlement. Therefore, just because you have had a work injury in PA, do not believe you are simply entitled to a settlement.
The timing of the case is always an important consideration when considering whether to settle a case. We do not mean timing in a strict calendar sense, as there is no magic number of months or years which must go by before a case can settle. Instead, we are looking at the posture of the case. Is the injured worker still in active treatment? Is surgery, or other invasive treatment still being planned? Is there other health coverage available? As to the case legally, we ask whether there is a current threat to the benefits? Whether there is current litigation, and the chances of success? What is the employability of the injured worker? (Considering that encompasses both physical restrictions, as well as educational and work backgrounds). As you can see, there are many factors going into whether now is the right time to settle.
Next, the question may be the value of the case. Again, there is no magic formula. A settlement only works if both sides agree. It has to be voluntary for everyone. Unlike a personal injury case, there is no pain and suffering in a PA workers’ compensation case. A settlement purely reflects loss of earnings, and, if applicable, future medical treatment. Obviously, the settlement figure is something to be negotiated.