Future medical benefits is an injured worker's right to receive ongoing medical treatment after a workers' compensation injury claim has been approved. Employees who have been injured due to a work-related accident are entitled to receive on-going medical treatment as long as needed or until they reach their maximum medical improvement. Because treatment for a long-term injury is expensive, future medical care is one of the most important benefits provided by workers' compensation insurance.
In some states, future medical benefits can be waived as part of a settlement agreement. Accepting such an agreement can leave an employee liable for the medical care expenses they need to treat their injury. If you suffer an injury at work and your employer makes you a settlement offer, you should immediately speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer who is familiar with workers’ comp law can make sure you are fairly compensated and able to receive necessary medical treatments.
Workers' Compensation Settlements
There are three ways to settle a workers' compensation case:
- Stipulation: Agreement for receiving permanent disability and disability bi-weekly payments. Future medical treatment is left open for specific body parts.
- Compromise: Both parties give and take certain settlement options to reach a mutual agreement
- Release: Allows the total settlement value of the case to be negotiated by your attorney and is awarded as a single lump sum payment
Another option is to go to trial, though a trial award is usually paid off over time and the future medical care for the injured body parts is left open.
You should carefully consider any settlement that you have been offered for future medical treatment. If you plan to waive future medical treatment, make sure to negotiate into your settlement all unpaid bills for medical treatment, as well as the costs for continuing medical care. Make sure to account for expenses like doctors' visits, hospital stays, physical therapy visits, surgery, and medications too.
Have you been seriously injured at work? Need help getting future medical treatment included as part of your benefit award? Contact our San Jose team of workers' comp attorneys to set up a free consultation today.