In Texas, you may make a workers’ compensation claim in situations where your injury or illness is work related. You are eligible for workers’ comp benefits if your employer opted into the workers’ compensation system and if you can show your injury happened due to your job. If you are covered by workers’ comp, you can’t sue your employer but could sue a third party non-employer whose negligence was the cause of injury.
In some situations, disputes arise regarding whether you should receive workers’ comp benefits or the amount of benefits that you will get. Indemnity dispute settlements are possible provided that the settlement is in compliance with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. The Texas Department of Insurance has a comprehensive list of the rules for settlements. If you file a lawsuit against a non-employer after a work injury, it may also be possible for you to settle this dispute outside of court if the defendant (or defendant’s insurer) agrees to make a payment to you.
When you settle a workers’ comp case or a lawsuit, the settlement is generally final. You cannot change your mind after a workers’ comp settlement or after a settlement related to litigation. Because you are not able to go back and get a better deal later on, it is imperative that you ensure a settlement is fair before you agree to it. A Texas workers’ compensation lawyer at Abbott and Associates, L.L.C. can review any proposed settlement and help you to determine if the settlement is likely going to be fair and if the money or benefits you receive are likely to meet your needs. Your attorney may also be able to help you negotiate a better settlement under certain circumstances.
When a benefit dispute arises and is settled, a DWC025 form must be completed and the settlement must be approved by the Commissioner or designee of the Commissioner. The settlement will be approved only if it is in the claimant’s best interests.
A settlement has to provide details on the weekly or monthly rate that must be paid for income benefits, as well as the dates of payments. The settlement may also include a provision requiring a lump sum payment for accrued income benefits if the date the benefits are due is in the past.
In addition to details about the money and benefits to be received, the settlement must also contain a statement that it resolves all past and future income benefits and that the parties waive their right to further proceedings with the Division of Workers’ Compensation related to liability or future income benefits. In other words, when you settle, you are agreeing and singing a statement that says you won’t change your mind.
Before you sign anything, talk to an attorney to get help. Your lawyer will try to help ensure you aren’t left uncompensated for losses. Call Abbott and Associates, L.L.C. today to learn more.