Getting injured on the job is devastating for workers. Serious injuries sometimes prevent a worker from earning wages. In some cases, injuries can be so severe that they result in permanent disability or the need for long-term medical care.
One of the most challenging aspects of settling a workers’ compensation claim is calculating the damages for future medical expenses.
While it is fairly straightforward to add up past medical bills, it’s the unknown future costs that lead to problems.
Workplace injuries can create a significant financial burden
Many workplace injuries can cause a substantial financial burden for families. Traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, amputation and other catastrophic injuries can lead to permanent disability and ongoing medical care needs.
Before settling on any workplace injury claim, injured workers must receive help with calculating their potential medical needs for the future. This is a process that requires careful research and attention to detail.
One of the biggest mistakes injured workers make is accepting a settlement too early. With a future medical-cost calculator, injured workers will be better able to calculate their medical needs and seek the settlement amount they deserve for their ongoing care.
Predicting future medical care needs is difficult
Before a workplace injury claim can be settled, the injured worker must reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), or it must be determined they will never improve. A proper prediction about any future medical requirements and their costs can only be made after MMI is reached.
Factoring in possible treatments is essential for accurately determining future medical costs in a workers’ compensation claim. A medical provider may recommend the following ongoing care:
- Surgical procedures
- Lab tests
- Frequent follow-up visits
- Assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers
- Pain medication
- In-home care
- Nursing home care
- Mental health counseling
- Home modifications like wheelchair ramps
Many treatments may be necessary for an injured worker. For some injured workers, care must continue for the rest of their lives. These medical treatments and care can be expensive and unattainable without a fair settlement.
Medical care costs are rising exponentially
The cost of medical care continues to rise at an alarming rate. The current cost for medical services will not be the same in 5 years or even a year from now. Calculating future costs takes an expert.
Multiple variables must be considered when calculating any future medical costs. The following are considered when calculating a workers’ compensation future medical buyout:
- Age of the injured worker
- General health before the accident occurred
- Severity and permanence of injuries
- Available treatment options in your area
There are 2 main approaches used by professionals to determine the future medical expenses of an injured worker:
If the worker has been diagnosed with injuries that cause permanent disability, a total lifestyle approach is used to calculate future medical costs.
If an injured worker’s injuries will allow them to live independently as long as they continue to receive the medical care they require, an added expense approach is used.
Do NOT settle without first speaking with a lawyer
As an injured worker, you have the right to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you determine your future medical costs. Although the insurance company and your employer may push for a fast settlement, this is usually not in your best interest.
Before you agree to a settlement for your workplace injury claim, it is wise to consult a worker’s compensation lawyer to learn more about your rights and how to pursue a fair settlement.
Please be aware that you’re not allowed to ask for more funds once you have accepted a settlement. Accepting a settlement without knowledge of the potential costs for future treatment is reckless and could end up costing an injured worker vast amounts of out-of-pocket money down the road.
Workers’ compensation laws require employers and insurance companies to provide reasonable lifetime medical benefits to injured workers as long as the care relates directly to their workplace injuries. Open medical costs will account for a significant portion of your final settlement, so you must proceed cautiously.
Learn how PPD benefits are calculated in Georgia workers’ compensation cases.
Seek help from a workers’ compensation lawyer today
If you’ve suffered a serious injury on the job, you may be faced with mounting medical bills and the need for ongoing medical treatment. Regardless of the settlement amount offered to you by the insurance company or the promises made by your employer, it’s vital that you speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer before you settle.
Never sign any paperwork or agree to a settlement without first scheduling a consultation with a lawyer. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you with calculating your future medical costs and determine how much you should seek in your settlement.