What Type of Documents Do I Need to Sign to Allow My Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Accept My Settlement?
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What type of documents do I need to sign to allow my workers’ compensation lawyer to accept my settlement?
If the insurance company extends a settlement offer that you would like to take, you will need to sign several forms to make the agreement official. Collectively, these forms are referred to as a Judgment/Order Approving Settlement. However, before you sign these documents, you must understand what you are getting—and what you are giving up—by signing them.
When you sign a settlement agreement, you accept the insurance company’s offer in exchange for waiving your right to a trial in an attempt to obtain a higher award. Thus, you must consult with an attorney to ensure that the offer extended by the insurance company is fair and that it fully compensates you for all the damages you are entitled to.
When considering settling a workers’ compensation claim, it is also important to know whether you are giving up the right to re-open the claim if your condition worsens. There are two types of New Jersey workers’ compensation settlements: Section 20 settlements and Section 22 settlements.
A Section 20 settlement is available in certain circumstances, most commonly when there is a dispute about whether the injury occurred at work or whether there is any permanent disability at all. If you accept a Section 20 settlement, you are giving up all your rights to re-open the claim, even if your injuries get worse over time.
A Section 22 settlement occurs when both the worker and the insurance carrier agree there is permanent disability related to a work injury. Under a Section 22 settlement, you agree to a scheduled disability rating, and the insurance company will pay you disability benefits in installments. If your injuries worsen, you are entitled to re-open the claim to seek additional benefits. Thus, when you accept a Section 22 settlement, you do not give up your right to future medical care. However, you only have two years from the last benefit payment due under the settlement or last authorized treatment provided, whichever is later, to re-open the claim.
If you have been injured in a New Jersey workplace accident, reach out to the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm for immediate assistance. We offer free consultations to accident victims and accept workers’ comp cases on a contingency basis, meaning there is never a fee unless we can help you obtain benefits and a settlement award on your behalf. You can reach us at 973-920-7900 or through our online form.
Other Workers’ Compensation FAQs:
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