Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation program is designed to help absolve the financial burden of employees who have suffered an injury or illness while acting within the scope of employment. If you are collecting benefits after sustaining a work-related injury, there may come a point when you consider settling your case. This means you will relieve the insurance company of their responsibility to pay ongoing benefits in exchange for a certain amount of cash. Although this has its advantages, it’s not a decision to take lightly, as it might require you to give up your right to future benefits.
How to Determine if You Should Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Potential Settlement Agreements
There are a few different types of settlement agreements available to injured employees. The first is a compromise agreement, which is a full and final arrangement that completely closes out your future medical expenses. In return, you will receive an agreed-upon sum of money. However, Wisconsin varies from other states in that it doesn’t allow for a single lump sum payment.
Instead, most of the funds will go into a bank account where you can withdrawal your monthly workers’ compensation benefit amount plus interest. Next is a limited compromise settlement. This will keep a portion of your case open and provide you partial payment for the rest. Finally, a stipulation agreement will allow you to collect weekly benefits without closing your case.
What Happens if Your Condition Worsens?
Typically, a workers’ compensation case cannot be reopened once a compromise agreement is approved. Under special circumstances, such as evidence of the insurance company committing fraud, the Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Division will reopen a case for up to one year after it has been settled.
For this reason, it’s crucial to thoroughly think about the possibility of your condition worsening before you settle. With stipulation agreements, cases remain open until the last benefit payment has been received. After that, you have 12 years to reopen your case if your condition gets worse.
Why You Should Seek Legal Counsel
It’s wise to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney before accepting any settlement agreement. This is particularly true for compromise agreements since there is no room for revision later on. An attorney will help you evaluate how much your case is worth and ensure you don’t accept an offer that is far below what you deserve.
If you are thinking about settling your workers’ compensation case, consult an attorney at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC. Based in La Crosse, our firm has represented countless injury victims throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota over the last two decades. We will carefully review your condition and help determine if it’s in your best interest to end your regular benefit payments and accept a lump sum offer. Call us at (877) 784-1230 to arrange a consultation or visit us online for additional information.