Question: I have a Workers Compensation claim filed in 2004. I filed for Temporary Total benefits. I received my back wages in September and October 2004. I have now signed for a settlement. The employer hasn’t signed for the settlement. How long does he have to agree to a settlement? Also, can I still collect on lost wages again? Or what is my next legal step?
Under the Workers Compensation system, both the claimant and the employer must agree a lump sum settlement. There is no time limit and the employer is not required to enter into an agreement. Since the employer has refused to sign the settlement, you claim remains open. If you require medical treatment or are temporarily disabled from the injury, you can still receive those benefits, as well as an award for permanent partial disability.
Since your claim results from a 2004 injury, you should consider filing an application for permanent partial disability award. This is a benefit which you are entitled to apply for after you have returned to work for 40 weeks. After filing the application, you would be examined by a physician who would make a determination of the percentage of permanent partial disability suffered as a result of this injury, and the award made would be based upon the physician’s findings. If you do not agree with the State doctor’s percentage, you are entitled to be examined by a doctor of your own choice. The hearing officer would then make an award based upon both doctors’ recommendations.
Keep in mind that by settling your claim you terminate any further benefits. The settlement means that you are closing the claim and cannot receive any further benefits as a result of that work related injury. If you are still treating for that injury, you should reconsider your decision to settle the claim.
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