The Blog

Why Should You Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Case?

For the most part, benefits under the Pennsylvania WC Act are meant to be “temporary“ which explains the name for the two (2) types of wage loss benefits that are available under the Act: temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits. The primary purpose of wage replacement benefits under the Act is to give an injured worker a means of paying their bills, buying food, and taking care of their family until they can return to work in their regular job or something else. The Act also provides for the payment of work-related medical expenses including doctors’ visits, hospitalizations, medication, surgery, nursing care, and orthopedic devices like crutches, canes, and wheelchairs, until the Employer can prove that the injured worker is fully recovered from their work injury. Temporary total disability benefits are paid when the injured worker is out of work completely because of their work injury. Temporary partial disability benefits are paid when the injured worker is back to work but is earning less than he or she did before their work injury. There is a 500-week cap on the length of time that you can receive partial disability benefits. There is no cap on total disability benefits. These wage replacement benefits are not meant to be paid for life unless the injury is catastrophic or so severe that it prevents the injured worker from ever returning to work.

Eventually the Employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier is going to take steps to try to stop or reduce your compensation. You should be prepared at that time to seriously consider settling your claim before your benefits are stopped or significantly reduced and you’re left without a plan to provide for the future. A good time to start thinking about settling your workers’ compensation case is when your doctor says that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, or MMI. MMI is another way of saying that you’re about as good as you’re going to get. At this time, you should start to think about what else you might do if you settle and your injury prevents you from returning to your regular job. No settlement in workers’ compensation will be able to provide for you and your family for the rest of your life. Settlements in workers’ compensation just aren’t that large. You’ll eventually have to return to work in some capacity to supplement the lump sum settlement that you received and to replace the medical coverage that you had for your injury. Settlements in workers’ compensation typically resolve everything, including your right to future wage loss and medical benefits. THEN WHY SETTLE? Because, if you’re at MMI and you can work, the lump sum is a way of starting over. It allows you to financially recoup some of what you lost because of your injury, even though it might not make you whole before starting a new phase of your life in a different job.

If you truly believe that you cannot work in any capacity then you should consider settling before your benefits are forcibly stopped through litigation. You can then apply for a more long term benefit like Social Security Disability which will give you a regular monthly income to supplement the settlement that you received in your workers’ compensation case.

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Managing Benefits Claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans rely on the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) for many important services such as healthcare, vocational rehabilitation, life insurance, educational assistance, disability compensation, pension and other benefits. It is troubling to hear the recent stories of the VA’s carelessness in assisting veterans in need. (Click To Read About The VA Hospital Scandal). This news comes as no surprise to veterans who have relied on the VA for medical treatment, life insurance, disability compensation, and other benefits. The VA currently has a backlog of over 340,000 claims, which means that hundreds of thousands of veterans are waiting for the benefits they need and deserve.

We hear over and over again from veterans that the VA has mismanaged their claims, by failing to process paperwork, request documents and obtain treatment records. On top of that, the VA pressures veterans to rely on Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) to apply for disability compensation, pension and other benefits. Service organizations sometimes struggle to meet the demands of veterans’ claims for disability compensation and benefits as they have high caseloads stemming from the backlog and they have to focus their efforts on providing other services for veterans. This leaves veterans having to deal with the poor service of the VA and overwhelmed service organizations when applying for disability compensation, pension and benefits. This is why it is important that veterans seek assistance from experienced VA accredited attorneys when applying for VA benefits.

A veteran recently told me about his experience with the VA stating that “the main job of the VA is to place veterans on hold.” This veteran has gone through various service organizations and has spoken with dozens of VA representatives over the years regarding his claim for service-connected disability compensation. He was told over and over again that the VA was evaluating his claim, that it would take months for the VA to process his claim and that he should check in later. These months turned into years, yet his claim went nowhere. When he asked the service organization for his claims file, he found out that there was no file.

If you are experiencing any of these problems in your claim for VA benefits, we can help. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the VA claims process, eligibility requirements, and types of benefits offered by the VA. We interact with the VA on a regular basis, and will help you gather the information needed to prove your claim. Please call us if you have any questions regarding your current VA claim(s), or if you intend to apply for disability compensation and/or pension. Our experienced attorneys will guide your claim for benefits step by step through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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