Workers’ compensation claims in California can be settled before trial in a couple of different ways, and the way in which they settle will typically depend on the facts and issues that are involved in the particular case. When the parties involved in the workers’ compensation claim reach an agreement on how much the case might be worth after taking into consideration the rewards and risks of a trial on the merits, what they end up with is a settlement. But how long it takes to come to an agreement will usually depend on how complicated the issues are and how willing the parties are to settling or compromising.
One factor that can contribute to the amount of time it takes to reach a settlement in a case is the type and extent of discovery or evidence that is needed to negotiate a case. For instance, the parties may need to subpoena a claimant’s past medical records, conduct numerous depositions, and compile any current and/or ongoing medical treatment records to determine how much or whether a claimant might recover from the workplace incident or accident or cumulative trauma injury. Conducting discovery can take a lengthy period of time, and when it comes to particularly complicated claims, it may be more than a year before discovery is completed. Because of the discovery process, some workers’ compensation cases might take longer than others. The quicker the parties can agree on the value of a case, whether extensive discovery is needed or not, the sooner the parties can reach a compromise.
There are some cases where the parties have a difficult time reaching an agreement when it comes to a claim’s value and thus, the time it takes to reach a settlement can depend on how long the claimant takes to reach their maximum medical improvement or MMI status. Once a claimant reaches MMI status, their doctor will issue a permanent and stationary report that explains the medical issues in the case. After this report is issued, the case will likely have a measurable or quantifiable value that can thereafter be awarded to the workers’ compensation claimant.
Of course, it is important to note that if a settlement cannot be reached in a workers’ compensation case, it may end up going all the way to a trial on the merits. When a case goes to trial, it usually means that the parties could not agree on the facts of the case or that they cannot come to terms on the medical issues that are involved. Unless and until the parties are amenable to viewing the disputed issues from each other’s perspectives, they are unlikely to reach a compromise and the case will wind up in court and will be decided by a judge.
Experienced and Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California
If you have sustained an injury or suffered an illness while on the job, particularly if the injury or illness occurred in the Hemet, San Bernardino, or Inland Empire areas, it is possible that you might be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under California’s workers’ compensation law. Albert E. Hirst, III, has many years of experience dealing with injured workers and their workers’ compensation claims and he has the knowledge and the resources necessary to assist you with obtaining the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. Call our office today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free initial consultation and discover what we can do to help you.