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There are two types of settlements in workers’ compensation. The first occurs in a denied case prior to going to a hearing. The Industrial Commission asks that all parties sit down for mediation, an informal settlement conference, to determine whether or not the case can be resolved before going to a hearing.

The second type of settlement in workers’ compensation claims are voluntary settlements on an accepted claim. This type of settlement means that the insurance company is paying for benefits and medical care, but chooses to settle the claims so that they can stop their ongoing liability for indemnity benefits and medical treatment. In this situation, the injured worker is able to obtain control of the medical treatment and move on with their life.

Entering Into a Settlement

An employee should consider entering into a workers’ compensation settlement only on the advice of an attorney. An injured worker should not seek any type of settlement of the claim without an attorney because they do not know what benefits they are entitled to.

If the injured worker is in a situation where they are not able to return to the job they had prior to when they were hurt, it may be a case that they should be willing to settle. In addition, if that injured worker or employee has a denied case at the Industrial Commission, and the chances are not good for a recovery, the worker should consider settlement if it makes sense for their case.

If an injured worker decides they want to settle after they speak with an experienced attorney, they must ensure that there is consideration for future medical care and future indemnity benefits, should those be pertinent to their claim. In addition, if they also receive social security disability benefit, there may also be offset information that must be contained in the settlement.

Impact on Employee Benefits

A settlement should not have any impact on vested employee benefits, such as a 401-K or profit sharing. If an injured worker has these vested benefits with their employer, they will have no bearing on the settlement of their workers’ compensation claim.

Payment or Ratings

A rating has more to do with the worker’s injured workers’ work discount benefits if the injured worker is going to return to their employer after the injury. As such, the injured worker could select a 26-A, which is payment for the rating and keeps the medicals open. This option is not considered a settlement, as a claim remains open for two years for medical treatment.

Value of an Attorney

When handling a settlement with a Raleigh employer, it is important to have a local lawyer so that all benefits the injured worker is entitled to can be recovered. A settlement would be negotiated directly with the employer’s insurance company attorney, and handled in such a way that there would be no impact on other benefits the injured worker may be entitled to. Robert E. Whitley Jr. is a Board Certified specialist in workers’ compensation and has extensive knowledge on the process. Having an attorney with knowledge and compassion is an invaluable asset to have throughout the process.