After suffering a serious on-the-job injury or developing a work-related illness, you know that you need help sooner rather than later. Depending on your situation, it may be appropriate to seek a one-time, lump-sum payment rather than the payments over time that are typically associated with workers’ compensation.
Before you decide which approach is best for your situation, let’s answer some important questions about the different types of workers’ compensation benefits and whether surgery increases a workers’ comp settlement.
- Type of injuries, anticipated medical care, and average weekly wage all influence your total settlement.
- Surgery is expensive and can potentially increase your workers’ comp settlement.
- You need to correctly value the worth of your workers’ compensation settlement, or you’ll miss out on important benefits.
What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Based On?
Workers’ compensation benefits cover losses like medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and a portion of lost wages for workers who have been injured or fallen sick because of their job. If a worker is killed while on the job or in the scope of their employment, workers’ comp will provide death benefits to certain surviving family members.
Factors that influence a workers’ comp settlement include:
- The type, extent, and severity of injuries
- Medical bills you’ve already incurred
- Anticipated future medical care
- Rehabilitation needs
- Professional or vocational training
- Two-thirds of your average weekly wage
Because workers’ compensation benefits are based on the unique factors of each individual claim, it is important to note that no two people will receive the exact same settlement. If you know a friend or family member who has recovered benefits for a work injury in the past, don’t expect to receive the exact same amount as they did.
Even payment structures can be different from claim to claim. You may receive your benefits as a single lump sum, or via a structured payment plan.
The Different Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In Maryland, workers’ compensation provides a variety of different benefits, including:
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Medical/hospitalization benefits
- Wage reimbursement benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Death and funeral benefits
In most situations, there will be no opportunity to go back later and ask for additional benefits or higher compensation. Workers’ compensation settlement agreements can’t be undone just because you failed to consider your future medical costs, whether you could work in the same position, or miscalculated your average weekly wages. This is because settling a workers’ compensation claim ends in a lump sum, a move that is made in exchange for giving up your ability to receive additional benefits through a payment plan or structure.
What Can Increase a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
You want to be certain that you receive every penny that you are rightfully owed, and understandably so. If you’ve been injured or fallen ill because of your work, you need the time, space, and financial stability to make the fullest possible recovery. And you deserve nothing less.
For this reason, it’s important to understand what types of factors might increase or lower your overall settlement.
Questions that you and your attorney might ask when deciding how much your overall claim is worth include some of the following:
- Am I expected to recover quickly? Or will I need months or even years to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)?
- What is the cost of my future medical care expected to be?
- Can I work fewer hours or in a different position while I’m recovering?
- Will I need to attend vocational rehabilitation? Will I need to transition into a new career?
- Will I be able to work at all in the future, or am I expected to be permanently disabled and unable to maintain employment?
- Will I need surgery or other invasive treatments?
If you have minor injuries that require limited medical care and are expected to return to work soon after your accident, your workers’ comp settlement will be lower than if you have severe injuries requiring extensive care.
The Impact That Surgery Has on a Workers’ Comp Settlement
Since settlements for workers’ compensation claims are based on certain past, current, and future expenses associated with an injury or illness, we know that surgery can increase the total amount that you are entitled to.
Why? Well, surgery is expensive. You aren’t just being charged for the surgeon and their time. Expenses related to going under the knife also encompass:
- The anesthesiologist
- Specialist fees
- Numbing and pain medications
- Surgical tools
- The operating room
Post-surgical costs for lab tests, imaging, medication, hospital rooms, and other post-surgery medical care must also be considered. The nationwide average for a single day spent in the hospital is $2,883. With each hospital stay averaging 4.6 days, the cost of undergoing just one surgery can quickly total in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you will be undergoing surgery in the future and are planning to settle your workers’ compensation claim beforehand, you cannot afford to miscalculate the total amount you are owed. We strongly recommend that you work alongside a law firm that has the experience, knowledge, and background needed to correctly evaluate and value your claim.
Belsky & Horowitz, LLC—Fighting for the Rights of Maryland Workers
At Belsky & Horowitz, LLC, we stand on the side of the injured. Our entire practice is dedicated to representing those who have been harmed in what should have been preventable accidents—including while on the job.
We don’t believe that finances should ever be a barrier to securing high-quality legal representation. That’s why we’ve based our Baltimore law office on the practice of only taking cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you never pay any upfront fees or costs. In fact, you only pay if we win your case for you.
So let’s talk. Whether you’re wondering if surgery will increase your workers’ comp settlement or aren’t even sure what your options are just yet, we can help. Schedule your first free meeting, and you’ll have the opportunity to sit down and discuss your case with a Baltimore workers’ compensation attorney.