Did you know that you MAY BE ABLE to settle your worker’s compensation claim? Over the years, the Arizona courts and legislature have granted and extended the right to settle your claim. Of course, both sides have to be willing, but your claim can be settled at any stage. This includes when you first get hurt if it is disputed; or after your claim has been established but when a dispute arises about the need for further treatment or when you have a potential life time, loss of earning capacity award (L.E.C.).
Even with a settlement, you will still retain the right to reopen your claim for further medical treatment, but only if you have already established a valid (compensable) claim.
The amount of a settlement is based on negotiation. There is no rule that entitles you to a fixed amount. Also, you cannot go to court to require a settlement. The administrative law judges who conduct worker’s compensation hearings make decisions about entitlements to compensation and medical benefits but they do not decide the value of your claim AND THEY CANNOT ORDER A CARRIER TO SETTLE.
When you have permanent impairment to a major body part such as a shoulder or your back (or multiple body parts) and you are unable to return to the job you had when you were injured, you will be entitled to a loss of earning capacity award, if it can be shown that you are Unable to earn as much as you did at the time of your injury. Many of these matters are disputed and a judge will decide your monthly entitlement, if any. However, these cases can be settled, either on a monthly or lump sum basis. Our firm has handled thousands of these cases and can answer your questions.