When injured workers settle their Virginia Workers’ Compensation case, they are sometimes frustrated to find out that there are some waiting periods involved. I always make it my policy to make sure my clients know what to expect with settlement and the time frames that affect when they will receive their settlement check. However, I know some folks opt to settle their workers compensation case on their own, so I wanted to share with you a little bit about what to expect.
Once negotiations have concluded and a verbal agreement has been reached for settlement terms and amounts, settlement documents have to be drawn up (some by your attorney and some by the insurance company’s attorney) and circulated for all the parties to sign. Then, once everyone has signed the settlement documents, they have to be submitted to the Commission along with supporting documentation (like medical records, bills, and the questionnaire) for final approval, this can often take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.
If Medicare is involved in your settlement, this process can take much longer since the settlement also has to be approved by Medicare.
Once the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission gives final approval for the settlement, they will issue the Approved Order for the settlement signed by a Commissioner. Once the settlement is authorized and the Approved Order is issued, the insurance carrier has 44 days from the date of the APPROVED ORDER to send the settlement check.
Below is some of the additional advice and information I give to my clients once their claim has settled:
- Keep your settlement a “secret”. No one needs to know about your settlement other than you and your spouse or a trusted family member. This is just a suggestion of course, but be forewarned – I have seen too many people be taken advantage of.
- Call your medical providers and make sure you don’t have any outstanding balance with their office. If your claim was contested prior to settlement, try and negotiate the balance owed for the treatment, this way you can pay off your medical bills while keeping as much money as possible in your pocket! If the insurance company needs to pay, we want to get that bill to them ASAP before they “close their file” and it becomes a nightmare to try and get your doctor paid.
- Don’t make impulse buys– HAVE A PLAN on what you are going to do with your funds—pay off debts, savings accounts, retirement planning, bonds, IRAs, pay for an education, start a business, etc. If you don’t have a plan, consider speaking with a financial advisor.
- These funds are tax-free!
If you would like some help settling your workers’ compensation claim or If you would like more information on the Virginia Workers’ Compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” or call our office today (804) 755-7755.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.