How Long Do Workers’ Comp Settlements Take, and How Long Can a Claim Stay Open?
Here, at Legal Chiefs, we try to give straightforward answers, but those can vary a lot when it comes to the law, settling cases, and time. Workers’ compensation cases can settle within a few weeks, or they can take years. If you have a specific case and wonder “when will workers’ comp offer a settlement,” keep in mind that it’s best to talk to your attorney. Our job is to help people like you connect with suitable attorneys for their specific cases. Since we cover the United States, we have a huge database to work with. Here’s what the numbers look like on average.
Resolved Workers’ Compensation Cases Average Timeframes
Our data shows that the average case will be resolved within about 16 months, resulting in a settlement or hearing with a judge. 20% of all cases can be resolved within the first six months. About 50% of the cases were resolved between 13 and 24 months.
How Long Can a Workers’ Comp Claim Stay Open?
While each state has its state-specific requirements, laws require that an employee file a claim for benefits within a certain amount of time following the injury or accident (find out more about it below on this page). Once the claim is opened, there are two routes to take:
- Some workers’ compensation plans stay open indefinitely. In this case, the insurance provider will have to pay for all medical bills and future expenses related to the initial injury if they arise.
- Employee settles with the insurance provider on a lump sum of money to close the claim. This is also referred to as a stipulated agreement. Quite often, this is the better deal as the sum of money amounts to greater benefits received. Also, closing the case quickly can avoid excessive paperwork.
So, the answer to “How long can a workers’ comp claim stay open?” is usually indefinitely. However, it may be better for employees to take advantage of a stipulated agreement, settle on a specific amount of money, and close the case.
What About Reopening Your Claim?
Employees can reopen their claims for additional compensation. You have five years to file for further compensation if your injury worsens, and whether you do that or not, medical treatment remains open for life. The only exception is that the parties have agreed to a settlement that states that the insurance company will not be responsible for any future medical treatment. Such exceptions are one of the many benefits of working with a professional workers’ comp attorney that will read between the lines to avoid future surprises and foresee the implementation of such tactics by the other party.
How Delays Affect Workers’ Comp Settlement Timelines?
The investigation process usually takes up most of the time during a case, which is the number one cause for delays to the whole process. If you are not currently working while you wait for your case to settle, you may feel like this is taking unnecessary time. Don’t worry – this is perfectly normal. Here are the most common delays for workers’ comp cases:
- General slow response times
- Lack of response from an attorney
- Issues with getting in to see a particular doctor or specialist
- Ignoring requests for medical treatment
- Hospitals and clinics delaying medical records
- Delays in scheduling events such as depositions or independent medical examinations
Hire a Professional Workers’ Comp Lawyer Near You!
We help injured employees and other people seeking professional legal help connect with local attorneys. Our job is to provide you with the tools to find the right legal professional for your case.