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Can I settle a workers comp case with my former employer? I won medical benefits and a small monetary amount. b

Richmond, VA |

I was hurt at work a back injury and the work comp said my former employer would pay my medical for the back injury for as long as needed.

Attorney Answers 3


It depends in part on what the specific status is of your Worker's Comp claim -- i.e., has there been a final hearing and an order entered in the case? If so, when?

Under worker's comp law you are entitled to receive lifetime medical benefits for treatment related to the accident/injury, as well as additional benefits that are more limited in time for things such as lost wages, rehabilitation if needed, etc. and the ability to in essence re-open the case within 2 years of the last payment of compensation/award if there is a change in your disability status. That is the extremely short version of the basic benefits of worker's comp.

If by your question you mean that your case is over, but now you would like to enter into a subsequent agreement/settlement with your former employer to in essence trade a cash amount now for a waiver of your right to future medical benefits, then it may be possible to do this if the employer and their ins. carrier agree. However, I think that you will also need the approval of the Worker's Comp Commission, just as you would for a compromise and settlement of pending claim.

I would really not recommend that you attempt to do any of this on your own. You should get a local worker's comp attorney to assist you. In the case of compromise and settlement, the maximum that the Worker's Comp Commission will allow your attorney to collect in the case is 20% of the settlement amount. So, you should not be out of pocket for attorney's fees unless you actually get a settlement and then the most that can be deducted from that settlement (the most the attorney can charge for the case) is 20%. It is well worth it.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.

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If you were a civilian Federal Employee when you were injured, your employing agency must pay for your medical treatment as long as the weight of the medical evidence shows there are residuals. There is no time limit. Moreover, if your back condition should worsen in the future you may be entitled to a schedule award for loss of use of the arms or the legs. If one day you need surgery to correct residuals from the injury, your employing agency, through chargeback, will be responsible.

If you are a civilian Federal employee, you should talk to a local attorney about your rights and to make sure you get all the benefits you are entitled to. Do not delay.

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You can, but settlements are voluntary. Neither you nor your employer and its insurance company have to settle a compensation claim. The questions is: why settle now? If you have lifetime medical benefits, you may need them. The other question is: what is your claim worth? That is a more complicated question and depends upon a number of factors. You will need to discuss this with an experienced Virginia workers' compensation attorney. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.

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