Does Surgery Increase a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?

lawyer consulting with clients

Navigating the workers’ compensation system can be complex, especially when it comes to understanding how medical treatments like surgery might affect your settlement. If you’ve been injured at work and are facing surgery, you might be wondering how this significant medical intervention impacts your workers’ compensation claim and potential settlement. This blog will explore the relationship between surgery and workers’ compensation settlements to help you better understand what to expect.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. These benefits typically cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. In many cases, workers may also receive a lump-sum settlement.

The Role of Surgery in Workers’ Compensation Claims

When an injury sustained at work requires surgery, it often indicates a serious medical condition. Surgery can have several implications for your workers’ compensation claim:

1. Increased Medical Costs

Surgery is one of the more expensive forms of medical treatment. The cost of the surgery itself, along with pre-operative and post-operative care, can significantly increase the total medical expenses covered by workers’ compensation. 

2. Extended Recovery Time

Injuries that require surgery often have longer recovery times compared to injuries that do not require surgery.  

3. Permanent Impairment

Injuries that require surgeries often result in some degree of permanent impairment. Whether its loss of strength, range of motion, sensation, or post-surgical pain, it is not uncommon for injuries that require surgery to have a higher degree of long-term impairment compared to injuries that do not require surgery.  

Factors That Influence the Settlement Amount

Several factors can influence how surgery impacts your workers’ compensation settlement:

1. Permanent Impairment 

Higher levels of permanent impairment generally lead to higher settlements.  

2. Impact on Work Ability

If an individual has decreased physical capabilities following a surgery, this can impact the ability to work and earn wages.  Loss of the ability to work and earn wages, even if it is only the loss of a portion of one’s earning capacity, can impact the size of a workers compensation settlement.  

3. Future Medical Care 

Although some surgeries will result in little to no future medical treatment following a successful procedure, many surgeries have a lifespan.  If the surgery will likely require revision at some point in the future or require maintenance with physical therapy, injections, or medication, this can lead to higher settlement value.

Negotiating the Settlement

The negotiation process for a workers’ compensation settlement can be complex. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Consult an Attorney

Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure you receive a fair settlement. An attorney can navigate the legal complexities, negotiate on your behalf, and advocate for your best interests. 

2. Document Everything

Keep detailed records of your medical treatments, including surgery, recovery progress, and any complications. This documentation can be crucial during settlement negotiations.

3. Understand Your Rights

Familiarize yourself with your rights under workers’ compensation laws. Knowing what you are entitled to can help you make informed decisions throughout the process. Because of the complexity of the workers compensation laws, working with an experienced workers compensation attorney can ensure that you find all of the available avenues for recovery.

4. Be Patient

Settlement negotiations can take time, especially when surgery and long-term recovery are involved. Patience and persistence are key to achieving a fair settlement.

See How Your Settlement Can Be Impacted Today

Surgery can significantly impact a workers’ compensation claim. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney and maintaining thorough documentation are essential steps in securing a fair and comprehensive settlement. If you’re facing surgery as part of your workers’ compensation claim, consult with Lennon, Camak & Bertics today and we’ll work with you to understand your options and advocate for the compensation you deserve.