You never have to settle and never have to sign a general civil release (which releases the employer from all legal claims such as employment discrimination, etc.). I cannot answer your other questions without more information. Whether or not you do want to consider settling, you should hire an experienced WC lawyer. There are several in the Orlando area. I know a couple excellent ones in Altamonte Springs who you can consult with for free and I recommend you do so. Contact me privately (toll free 888-577-0050) if you need more information.
Disclaimer: the above does not constitute legal advice and is only an opinion of the author as to current law. You should consult an attorney with questions about your particular situation.
You are correct, you need to consult with a local workers' compensation attorney. Your situation has a lot of moving parts and can only be answered by talking to a local workers' compensation attorney.
Actual legal advice can only be provided by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law regarding your question. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.
Insurance companies LOVE to settle with an injured worker who doesn't have an attorney, because they know they can pay less and may be closing several potential claims. You definitely need to consult a workers' compensation attorney in your area. Even if you are not considering settlement right now, there are certain limitations that you need to understand.
Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVISE and are for informational purposes only. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship and is based on limited information. A full review of additional facts might change the answer, therefore you should not rely on this answer as legal advise. I recommend that you consult with an attorney who can review your case in detail, understand the specifics of your claims, and protect your interests before you take any actions.