Q: I was awarded benefits for a work injury in VA now the ins comp wants to settle but they say I have to resign; true?
I injured my ankle and calf at work and was awarded benefits. After over a year of pain and being told that I had to stay off my leg completely unless it was going to the doctor or to the bathroom I am finally healed. Top it off with delays by the insurance company, missed pay that I had to fight for, wrongfully having my claim canceled then reinstated (the PI they hired thought my father-in-law was me), now they want to settle the rest of my claim. Well they say "I can, it's up to me, no pressure" but say I have to resign in order to do so. They have even made an offer for indemnity and a full settlement offer but from what I'm reading it's REALLY low since I have no lawyer. Do I really have to resign and is this first offer really that low?
A: The value of your claim is determined by “future” lost wages and “future” medical expenses. You say you are “healed” and I assume you are back at work. This may mean you have no “future” lost wages and no “future” medical expenses. If so, the insurer has no exposure to further expenses. There is one other possibility. Your leg can be rated for permanent loss and you can be paid for this. For example, the doctor could say you have lost 10% of your leg due to this injury. Your job may be more valuable to you then a small settlement. Contact me if you need further advice.
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A resignation and release is standard in workers comp settlements. It is typically a condition of settlement required by the employer's insurance carrier.
As for settlement value, you should have a qualified workers comp attorney assist you with negotiating settlement in order to assess the full value and be your advocate in the settlement process. Attorney fees must be approved by the Commission and are typically only 20% of lump sum settlements. There are Medicare and Social Security setoff issues in comp settlements that often make them more complicated than typical personal injury liability claims.
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