While there are many benefits to settling your workers’ compensation case, you will also likely be giving up significant rights. Because settlements are often final, it’s wise to consult with an Idaho workers’ comp lawyer before you sign any agreements. (To learn how much that might cost you, see our article on attorneys’ fees in Idaho workers’ comp cases.) Below, we explain the settlement process in Idaho.
A lump sum settlement is a “full and final” settlement of your workers’ compensation case. The insurance company agrees to make a one-time payment to close out your workers’ comp case for good. In most cases, you will be required to give up your right to all future benefits. However, in some cases, the insurance company might agree to continue future medical treatment related to the injury. Because lump sum settlements are final, you cannot reopen your case later and ask for additional benefits, even if your condition gets worse.
A lump sum settlement is different than receiving a payment for your permanent impairment on an accepted claim. In that case, you are not agreeing to give up any rights in exchange for the payment owed to you.
In Idaho, all lump sum settlements must be approved by the Industrial Commission. You and the insurance company will need to file settlement paperwork with the Commission. A panel of three commissioners will review the terms of the settlement to make sure they are in the best interest of all the parties. At least two out of three commissioners must approve the settlement. If the settlement is not approved, either party can request a hearing on the matter.
The amount of the settlement varies widely based on the severity of your injury, your ability to work, and your pre-injury wages. Conflicting evidence in your case—for example, as to whether your injury is work-related or whether you are permanently disabled—will also impact your claim’s settlement value.
To get a general idea of how much you might be entitled to, see our article on Idaho workers’ comp benefits. However, a claim’s settlement value depends on many factors, which can only be evaluated by a workers’ comp lawyer familiar with your case.
It’s important to understand the full the extent of your injuries before you settle your claim. For that reason, it’s almost always best to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement. This is when your doctor finds that your condition has stabilized and assesses whether you have any permanent disability.
You should also consult with an Idaho workers’ comp lawyer before you agree to a settlement, as it can be difficult to know whether you’re getting a fair deal and whether the settlement protects all of your interests.