If you've been injured at work and are looking to file a workers' compensation claim, you need to be aware that the amount of your settlement could be lower than expected. That's because several factors can affect the outcome of your claim and, ultimately, how much money you receive in damages.
Here are some common reasons why you might get a lower settlement for your workers' compensation claim.
Your Employer Claims You Are Partially Responsible for Your Injury
When receiving a lower settlement for workers' compensation claims, employers can often attempt to use contributory negligence as a defense. This means they could try to argue that you were partially responsible for the injury you sustained on the job.
For instance, say you were injured while using a piece of equipment without taking the proper safety precautions. In this case, your employer might claim that if you had taken the necessary measures, you would not have been injured. If your employer is successful in their argument, the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced.
The amount of any settlement received would then be reduced based on the proportion of negligence attributed to you. For instance, say you're found to be 25% responsible for your injury. If your case settles for $50,000 in damages, the amount of compensation you receive would be $37,500.
Keep in mind that some state laws allow employers to deny workers' compensation claims altogether if they can prove more than 50% of the fault lies in the employee's actions. These scenarios highlight why it is important for workers facing contributory negligence claims from employers to have experienced legal help when pursuing a workers' compensation claim.
You Did Not Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Another factor that can lower the amount of your workers' compensation settlement is if you fail to seek medical attention immediately after being injured on the job. As soon as an injury occurs, it's important to get treatment and document your injuries. This ensures there is a record of all medical expenses associated with the accident, which you can use when filing for workers' compensation.
If you wait too long to seek medical treatment or file a claim, you may find yourself at a disadvantage when receiving a higher settlement from the insurance company. That's because, without the necessary documentation showing your injuries and how they were caused by working conditions, it will be harder for you to prove negligence against your employers.
It is also important to remember that some states have statutes of limitations in place regarding workers' compensation claims. This means you have a certain amount of time to file your claim before it is denied.
Reach out to a workers' compensation lawyer in your area to learn more.