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Settle Or Go To Trial?
We are Illinois attorneys who have helped tens of thousands of people with their work comp cases. We give the same advice to you that we would to a family member or friend. If you’d like to speak with a lawyer for free call us at 312-346-5320 for help anywhere in Illinois.
Worker’s compensation claims can end in trial or settlement or can be closed because you wait too long to do anything. However, many end in settlement. A settlement happens when the insurance company offers a lump sum of money in exchange for your agreement to give up your rights to all future benefits related to the claim. This typically means no more medical care at their expense or any other type of compensation.
Many individuals accept settlements because they believe it’s a fair offer and will benefit them. However, that is not always the case as insurance companies often give low and unfair offers in hopes individuals without attorneys will be tricked into accepting them or that your attorney won’t fight for what is fair. Having an experienced attorney will give you the opportunity to get the best possible settlement. If negotiations fail, then you can go to trial. At trial, the insurance company will argue that your injury isn’t worth more than the settlement they offered, you will argue the opposite. An arbitrator, who is similar to a judge, will hear both sides and will make the final decision.
There are a number of things to consider when deciding whether you want to accept a settlement or proceed to trial:
1: Your future
It is important to consider your future in regard to your injury, medical needs, employment, and daily living. A fair settlement will account for the permanency of your injury, your future medical needs and whether of not you can work. It also accounts for how all of these things collectively affect the quality of your daily life and activities. If you accept a settlement offer, and suddenly need another surgery for the injury you sustained, that will not be covered by the insurance company as you forfeited future financial coverage. On the other hand, if you go to trial, you will receive medical payments related to this injury for life.
2: Current Timing
Timing is another important factor to consider. If you are in a financially unstable place, it might make more sense to take a settlement that will put a lump sum of tax free money in your pocket soon. We’ve seen cases where a client was able to move out of state to be with family so they settled a case for $125,000 instead of holding out a couple more months with the expectation that they could get $150,000.00 eventually.
3: Likelihood of Success
It is important that you and your attorney discuss the likelihood of success if you were to go to trial. Your attorney should rely on their expertise to determine first if they think that you would win at trial and what a win will look like. They can’t guarantee anything, but should be confident you will likely end up in a better position by going to trial rather than taking a settlement. Remember, even if a settlement offer has been made or benefits have been paid, the insurance company can still dispute your case at trial.
Every Illinois work comp case is different and going to trial or settling really depends on things that are unique to you and your case. If you’d like to discuss this with an experienced attorney for free and in confidence, please contact us any time.