In Louisiana, a workers' compensation settlement is not final until the injured worker signs documents which outline the terms of the agreement, and the judge signs an Order approving the settlement. Consequently, unless you have already signed settlement documents you are free to change your mind and your benefits should be reinstated immediately, unless of course they were suspended or terminated for some other reason.
I would strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney that focuses his or her practice on prosecuting workers' compensation claims. An experienced attorney should not only be able to get your benefits started again, but they should also be able to recover a penalty for you in the event that your benefits were terminated without a justifiable reason.
Additionally, an experienced workers' comp attorney will almost certainly be able to recover more for you in settlement, after his or her fee, than you will be able to negotiate for yourself.
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I would recommend that you retain an Attorney, if you feel that the case value exceeds what they offered. You may get more, or you may get less after the Attorney Fee. Life is a calculated risk.
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As usual, I agree with my colleague. From my perspective, without an advocate you may never know all your options and you certainly will never know if you are receiving fair value. I would want to make an informed opinion.
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I agree with Mr. Murray. When an injured worker is representing himself or herself, the workers' compensation judge has to approve any settlements made with the insurance company. I have seen workers' compensation judges deny settlements because they weren't fair to the worker.
Under Louisiana law, an insurance company has to pay penalties and attorney's fees if it "arbitrarily and capriciously" terminates an injured workers' benefits. Court proceedings are required to prove that the insurance company improperly terminated the workers' benefits. The workers' compensation court rules can be tricky, so most workers usually use an attorney.
Nicholas M. Graphia
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