Workers’ Compensation Settlement Value in Arizona
Being hurt on the job can have a serious impact on your health and livelihood. At a minimum, you could miss a few days or weeks from work and experience tremendous pain from your injuries. With a more severe workplace injury, a prolonged absence could place immense strain on your finances, especially if you’re left with long-term or permanent disabilities.
Workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to help in a situation like this, but if your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier offers you a one-time settlement in place of weekly benefit checks, how do you know if you’re getting a fair deal?
Get the answers you need today. Talk to the Arizona workers’ compensation lawyers at Matt Fendon Law Group.
Our firm fiercely advocates for the rights of Arizona’s injured workers. Workers’ compensation and disability claims are all we handle, giving us a unique level of insight and experience to manage even the most complex cases. Founding attorney Matt Fendon is board-certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a workers’ compensation specialist. In addition, our firm is recognized for excellence by legal organizations such as the National Trial Lawyers, Workers Injury and Law Advocacy Group (WILG) and Arizona Association for Justice (AzAj).
To learn more about how we can help with your workers’ compensation case, call or visit our contact page for a free consultation.
How to Calculate a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
If you’re injured on the job in Arizona, you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits in a few different ways. The first is to go through the standard workers’ compensation claims process, which involves being evaluated by a doctor, submitting a claim to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, and receiving weekly benefit checks.
Until recently, this was the only way injured workers could get workers’ compensation benefits. Today, employers and their insurance carriers can bring workers comp lawsuit cases to an end by letting injured workers agree to full and final settlement agreements where the injured worker walks away from the claim forever in exchange for a lump sum.
These agreements work similarly to insurance settlements in personal injury cases, as the injured worker agrees to a lump-sum payment to bring their case to an end. Also, accepting a workers’ compensation settlement generally means you cannot seek any additional compensation and that you cannot take any further action.
Two main factors determine the value of a workers’ compensation settlement:
- Your medical expenses, including the cost of any future care you may need
- Wage-replacement benefits including temporary and permanent disability benefits
This sounds straightforward enough, but depending on the variables used to calculate these figures, the value of your settlement could fluctuate wildly. That’s why we recommend getting help from an Arizona workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Your work comp attorney can go over any potential settlement offer with you to ensure that you’re being treated fairly.
What Impacts the Value of My Case?
The two most significant factors in the value of any workers’ compensation settlement are your medical benefits and your wage-replacement benefits. However, many factors within those two categories could dramatically impact the value of your claim, such as:
- Age: If you’re young and sustain a severe injury at work, you could miss out on years or decades of income, which could significantly increase the value of your claim. If you’re older and nearing retirement age, you’ll likely receive less in your settlement, as you have fewer working years left.
- Extent of the injuries: Minor injuries are less expensive and take less time to treat, decreasing the value of your medical benefits. If you’re severely injured, need long-term care, and require costly treatment, you’ll need more money to cover those expenses. This increases the value of your claim.
- Expected level of medical improvement: It is usually not a good idea to never settle a workers’ compensation claim until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), or the point where your doctor believes you have healed as much as possible. Settling before reaching MMI could reduce your claim’s value because it may not accurately account for future needs. Seriously injured employees may be entitled to lifetime workers’ comp benefits, depending on the facts of the case.
- Pre-injury income level: Wage-replacement benefits should cover two-thirds of your average monthly wages prior to your injuries. There is a maximum benefit amount set by state law, which is adjusted annually.
- Scheduled vs. unscheduled injuries: If you’ve lost the use of a particular body part due to your injuries, state law provides that you receive wage-replacement benefits for specific periods, depending on which part of your body has been affected. Unscheduled disabilities entail a much more complex process and could result in a permanent benefit for the rest of the injured worker’s life.
- Degree of disability: If your injuries have left you with a permanent disability, you will need to be evaluated by a doctor, who will assign you an impairment rating. The greater your level of disability, the more benefits you can receive.
Common Types of Workplace Injuries
Job injuries come in all forms. The most common include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Injuries from motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Being struck by a falling object
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Toxic exposure
- Physical assaults
Why Do Workers’ Compensation Settlements Vary?
The greater your injuries, the more you should receive in a settlement. However, your employer and their workers’ compensation insurer will want to minimize the amount they’ll pay in a settlement, so they might try to find ways to diminish your benefits claim. Some attempts succeed more than others, which is why similar cases may settle for very different amounts.
Get Help from an Arizona Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A fair settlement is crucial if you want to fully cover your medical bills and other losses after a workplace injury. An experienced Arizona workers’ compensation lawyer at Matt Fendon Law Group can help you pursue the benefits you deserve.
Our firm has offices in Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Call or fill out our contact form to get your free consultation now.