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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your first and foremost action following an accident is to stay calm, check if you or anyone else involved has been injured, and call the police. Get the name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the event. To document the damage, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. It’s important not to admit liability until you hire an attorney because they will conduct a thorough investigation to establish the driver at fault.
Right after a car accident, you may feel fine, but injuries can surface days, weeks, and even months later. That’s why it’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t believe you were injured in the accident. Your doctor can recognize issues or injuries that won’t immediately become apparent to you and alert you to warning signs of injuries that may arise due to the accident. If you fail to treat your injuries within a certain period of time, you may forfeit your right to get reimbursement for future medical costs. The general rule is not to settle auto accident claims without having been examined by a medical professional.
In most cases, you won’t have to go to court. The majority of auto accident claims are resolved outside of court after negotiating the terms with the insurer. Most insurance companies generally try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, so it’s wise to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene and taking the contact information of the involved parties and witnesses, your detailed explanation of how the accident happened is also necessary to file a claim. Law enforcement reports of the accident will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
Many factors determine the driver at fault in an auto accident case. Do not accept any part of the blame until the investigation has concluded. Even if the investigation finds that you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive compensation.
There are cases when the victim also shares part of the blame for an accident. If, for example, you were driving five to ten mph over the speed limit when the accident happened, this would have limited your reaction time, and you could likely be considered a negligent driver even if you weren’t the one to cause the crash. Different states have different ways of settling auto accident claims where more than one driver is at fault. So it’s best to check the specific laws in your state (or the state where the accident took place) or discuss the matter with your auto accident injury lawyer.
It happens surprisingly often that people get into an auto accident where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. In these situations, it’s wise to have an auto insurance policy that comes with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. That way, if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be able to file your claim under the UM coverage you have with your own insurance company. Your insurer will then process the claim following the same process as it would for an opposing insurer. The only difference is that the claim will be against your UM coverage and not against another driver.
Likewise, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver fled the scene before you could take their information, you can again seek compensation from your UM coverage.
Suppose you suffered injuries after an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, there are two main types of damages that you may seek compensation for: compensatory (a.k.a. monetary) and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in a personal injury claim, and they often include:
● Current and future medical bills
● Property damage
● Emotional duress
● Lost wages
● Loss of enjoyment of life
● Loss of future earnings potential
On the other hand, punitive damages are much rarer, but they can occur in situations where the vehicle manufacturer is to blame.