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Can You Open a Worker’s Comp Claim Once It Has Been Settled?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

It is a tale as old as time, or at least as old as worker’s compensation law. You are hurt at work, find your worker’s comp insurance eager to settle quickly, and you accept it only to later realize that you are now completely stuck with a bad settlement. Whether you had a personal injury lawyer or opted to go it alone, this is something that happens all the time. If you realize you have made a bad deal, can you re-open your case to get a better settlement?

The short and sad answer is no.

Whether you got a bad attorney or accepted a bad settlement offer yourself, in this type of case, all settlements are final. It doesn’t matter if you realize your error one second or one year after signing the settlement contracts and getting them approved, there is nothing you can do about it once the ink is dry.

In some cases, if your condition gets worse after the claim is settled, you may be able to get more funds to cover any surgeries or medical bills, but those situations are very rare. This is typically why worker’s compensation insurance companies are so eager to settle your claim so quickly.

Yes, a few good souls probably want to see you taken care of after your work-related injuries take you out of the game, but the faster they pay out and put the matter behind them, the less likely it is that the injured party can consider their options and ask for more. Often claims adjusters hit you with a lot all at once to try and pressure you into accepting their first or second offers, and because you are injured and already pretty stressed out, a lot of people get lower settlements than they should.

If you didn’t end up hiring an attorney to help you navigate your worker’s compensation claim, then in most cases you can expect a lower settlement. However, if you did hire an attorney and they ended up completely blundering your case, you might still have some options, but probably not what you might expect.

The settlement is final, but if you think your attorney is guilty of something truly negligent, you may be able to file suit against them for legal malpractice. Unfortunately, this can be tricky to prove. Worker’s compensation cases are all about compromise. So while you may think that they accepted a ridiculously low offer on purpose, it may have been the best counter offer that they could get for your case.

However, if your lawyer missed something important, such as not including a particularly high surgery bill and failed to include it in the calculations, you may have a reasonable argument for malpractice. Those situations are easier to prove, but lawyers fight fiercely when their reputation is on the line, so you may have to endure a brutal trial.

Instead of trying to deal with the legal headache of suing your lawyer, or worse, trying to argue that you should be able to re-open your case, the best thing you can do to assure you don’t get a bad deal is to not agree to a bad settlement. It is so obvious, right?

If you are in the middle of a worker’s compensation case and finding it a bit too hard to navigate, contact us today. If you got hurt at work, you should be using that time to heal, not to pour over legal documents. Leave negotiating the best worker’s comp settlement to the Law Office of Joshua Borken. We’ll get you the money to cover your bills while you focus on getting better.