At-work accidents can result in many different injuries, some of which need a few days rest to heal. But other injuries, such as torn rotator cuffs, broken bones, or serious burns, may require surgery. The workers compensation insurance company wants to resolve claims quickly because it can save them money in the long run. Sometimes, this lump-sum settlement can seem pretty attractive to an injured employee who is out of work and not actively earning an income. It is important to note that this may not be in the worker's best interest.
If you've been hurt at work, you have at least two problems to deal with: how to treat a serious injury and how to earn an income during your recovery. Your injury or illness may be covered by your employer's workers compensation insurance coverage if it meets certain criteria, but the quality of treatment may not be what you expect.
Workers Compensation Settlements
The insurance company wants to settle claims quickly if it is in their best interest. So if your injury requires surgery or lifelong treatment, they may try to give you a settlement early on in your case that does not anticipate these costs. A settlement would likely release them from the responsibility to pay for your continued medical treatment. Before you decide to settle, you need to speak with someone who knows these claims and tactics, such as a workers compensation lawyer. An attorney can discuss your current and future medical needs and make sure that the settlement takes them into account.
Alternatives to Surgery
There are some on-the-job injuries that don't require surgery. If a worker experiences a mild sprain or muscle pain, they probably won't benefit from an invasive procedure. Instead, they may try using medical equipment, such as a knee brace, or visiting a physical therapist to learn exercises. These measures help the injured worker learn tactics for healing and managing their injury and associated pain.
The workers compensation insurance carrier may try to recommend these strategies for more serious injuries. If you prefer not to have surgery, you may see some benefits from physical therapists or other professionals. But if your accident caused a part of your body to become seriously damaged, surgery may be inevitable. This is when the injured worker must ask themselves, "should I have surgery now or later for my on-the-job injury?"
Advantages of Having Surgery Sooner Rather than Later
Doctors may recommend surgery in many different scenarios. It can be cosmetic, life-saving, for the patient's future comfort, or to restore full functionality. Workers compensation benefits usually only go towards surgeries that help an injured employee return to work. If your doctor recommends surgery for an on-the-job injury, the insurance company might try to avoid paying for it. However, it could be your best chance at recovering.
Some injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, only get worse with age. If you wait to get surgery, the repairs may be more invasive and require a longer recovery period. If you're presented with a settlement offer for a workers compensation claim, but it excludes surgery, you may want to think twice before signing it. Yes, the settlement can help you with current expenses, but if it doesn't pay for surgery, it could leave you dealing with an injury far longer than you anticipated. The injury can limit you from returning to work. In the long run, this can cost you more money than you thought.
Getting the Most out of a Workers Compensation Claim
Most people who have been injured on the job just want to get better and return to work. Limited medical benefits can prevent them from doing both of these things. The best way to protect your interests in a workers comp claim is to talk to an attorney. Their legal advice and guidance can be essential when it comes to your health and ability to work.