Injured employees who qualify for workers’ compensation benefits have the right to receive ongoing medical treatment for their injury. This is known as future medical benefits. If you have sustained a serious work-related injury or illness, you can obtain on-going medical treatment for as long as you need it, or until you reach your maximum medical improvement. Because ongoing medical care is one of the most important benefits you can receive under workers' compensation insurance, it is important to understand what future medical benefits entails for injured workers. In this blog, we discuss what you need to know about future medical benefits.
Can Future Medical Benefits Be Waived?
In some states, and under specific types of settlement agreements, future medical benefits can be waived. For example, if you agree to certain terms, you can be liable for you medical expenses and your employer's insurance company won’t have to pay for your treatments. You should discuss the details of your work-related injury with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer before accepting any settlement offers from your employer or their insurance company. Consulting with a lawyer will ensure your medical costs are fairly compensated and that you retain your right to future medical care.
Workers' Compensation Settlements
There are three ways that workers’ compensation cases are usually settled:
- Stipulation: This is an agreement for permanent disability, where you receive bi-weekly disability payments. Future medical treatment is reserved for specific body parts
- Release: This allows the total settlement value of the case to be negotiated by an attorney. The settlement is paid out as one lump sum.
- Trial: The case is taken to court to be settled by a judge
If your case is successful at trial, the award you receive will be paid off over time, similar to the stipulated settlement. Future medical care for your injured body parts will be left open. Always consider what benefits are included in a settlement offer. In particular, check the offer for:
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Temporary partial or total disability
- Medical treatment
If you choose to waive future medical benefits, you need to make sure the settlement will cover all of your unpaid medical treatment bills. You should also check to see if it includes continuing medical care. Future costs for doctors' visits, hospital stays, physical therapy visits, surgery, and medications need to also be included in your settlement estimates.
Talk Our Workers’ Comp Team Today
The lawyers at The Law Offices of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC are here to help you secure the compensation you deserve for your work related injury. We can review your case and come up with a strong legal strategy that will protect your rights and interests. Let us put our skills and resources to work for you.
Contact our San Antonio workers' comp lawyer to set up a case consultation. We are here to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.