What are Workers’ Compensation Settlements in Ohio?
Settling your Ohio Workers’ Compensation claim means you and your attorney, your employer, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) have agreed on a sum of money to be paid to you and therefore close out your claim. While obtaining a lump sum is far more attractive than fighting with the BWC for years or more, it’s important to keep in mind that according to the BWC, Ohio workers’ compensation settlements, “forever resolves all past, present, or future medical and compensation issues and liabilities in the claim, whether known or unknown”.
Partial settlements are an exception to this rule, but they do not happen as frequently. There are various factors in establishing settlement values typically. These include estimating future medical costs the work injury will incur, as well as the indemnity, or actual compensation costs. Though less common, an indemnity only settlement means the claimant remains eligible to receive compensated medical treatment under the claim.
In addition, if you have more than one workers’ compensation claim you may be able to settle one or all of them. A knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney at Schaffer & Associates, LPA in Toledo, Ohio can help you decide when to settle a claim, especially if you have multiple claims active at the same time.
Download Our Guide: Five Essential Steps to Take After Your Ohio Work Injury
Do I Have to Hire an Attorney to Apply for a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
There is no requirement to hire an attorney to file for a settlement with the BWC. An injured worker can file their own Settlement Agreement and Application for Approval of Settlement Agreement (Form C-240). This form documents agreement to the terms and conditions of the settlement, and will need to be signed by you, your workers’ compensation lawyer (if you have one), your employer, and your employer’s legal representative.
This assumes a state funded case, meaning the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation insures your employer. The process for claims against self-insured employers, however, looks different. In this case, you will typically submit a Self-insured Joint Settlement Agreement and Release (Form SI-42) and an acknowledgment form (Form S1-43). This paperwork will be reviewed by the Industrial Commission (IC) rather than the BWC.
Either way, it is important to make sure you comprehend the terms of any signed agreement. This is especially critical regarding Ohio workers’ compensation settlements. The BWC and any managed care organizations (MCO) involved in your case will not and cannot advise you on settling your claim. However, having an attorney can be hugely beneficial. Your workers’ comp claim attorney will not only help negotiate the settlement dollar amount and facilitate paperwork and communication. They will also ensure a settlement agreement is the best option for you and your case.
How Much Can I Settle My Case For?
The BWC does not have pre-set formulas to determine a claim’s value. Thus, the value of settlements vary greatly from case to case. Again, the BWC will evaluate a claim’s settlement value by projecting the future costs of the claim. This can include upcoming surgeries, continuing treatments, and expected lost work time. It’s important to know the BWC does not consider pain and suffering in settlement value decisions.
There are several factors that can impact your settlement value. Common workers’ comp issues include conflicting medical evidence, outstanding overpayments, overdue child support, and unpaid medical bills. Our Toledo attorneys are experienced in these negotiations. We work to finalize your Ohio workers’ compensation settlement for the highest dollar amount possible.
When Can I Apply for an Ohio Workers’ Comp Settlement?
You may choose to settle and close your claim at any time. Again, it’s important to remember that this will prohibit you from obtaining medical or monetary compensation regarding your injury in the future. This is why settling your claim too early can be a bad idea. If you’re unsure of whether or not you should apply for an Ohio workers’ compensation settlement, it’s best to seek the advice of an experienced, Toledo, OH workers compensation attorney.
Before settling, most injured workers wait for a determination of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). To be found MMI means your physician has declared your condition to be stable or stagnant, and that your condition will not improve with further treatment.
How Long Does Settling a Claim Take?
After receiving the necessary documents, the BWC or IC will examine your paperwork and determine if it is acceptable. For state funded cases, a 30-day waiting period begins on the day that the BWC mails you your settlement agreement. For self insured cases, the 30-day waiting period begins after the IC approves the settlement. During this time, either party may change their mind about the settlement. This means that anyone can propose changes to the settlement or withdraw from it entirely.
In Ohio, all workers’ compensation settlements are voluntary. If you decide to revoke your settlement agreement, you must file a written notice of withdrawal before the 30-day waiting period ends. Otherwise, your settlement is full and final.
Our Toledo Team Can Help You With Your Ohio Workers’ Compensation Settlement
Due to the final and impactful nature of settlements, it’s always a great idea to discuss your case with an attorney before settling your claim. Schaffer & Associates‘ team of workers’ compensation lawyers have decades of experience in both assessing cases to determine the best time to execute a settlement, as well as negotiating settlement amounts. Call (419) 350-8227 or send us a message to discuss your Ohio workers’ compensation settlement today.