How Long Does Workers’ Comp Take to Settle?
When you’re hurt at work, you need to know how long it’s going to take before you start getting workers’ compensation payments. Of course, that isn’t an easy question to answer, because there are a lot of variables.
How long it takes to settle the case depends on where in the workers’ comp process you’re able to reach the settlement. Your Denver workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand how long your case will take depending on your specific circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about how long workers’ comp takes to settle in Colorado.
How Long Does Workers’ Comp Take to Settle in Colorado?
Workers’ comp takes anywhere from 60 days to two years to settle in Colorado. Of course, most cases fall somewhere in between. A case can settle at any point during the claims process. How long it takes to settle depends on many different factors and where during the process the parties are able to resolve the dispute and agree on a resolution.
Timeline for Colorado Workers’ Comp Settlement
If your case settles…
At the very beginning:
In some cases, the employer doesn’t deny that they owe you workers’ comp. They don’t contest what you’re asking them to pay. In those cases, you begin to receive payments very quickly. In only a few weeks, you start getting payments. The start of getting the workers’ comp payments isn’t your final settlement, though. You might receive periodic payments for some time before you get a lump sum settlement.
The lump sum settlement doesn’t happen until you reach the maximum medical benefit from treatment. Of course, how long it takes to reach the maximum medical benefit from treatment varies wildly based on your injuries. Once you reach the maximum medical benefit from treatment, you have to wait a few months before they process the paperwork for your lump sum payment. The amount you receive depends on the type and severity of your disability.
In the pre-hearing process:
When you disagree with the insurance company’s decision about coverage, benefits, or your lump sum payout, you can request a hearing. Before you have the hearing itself, you have a pre-hearing conference and settlement discussions. You talk about issues in the case and production of any records that may facilitate settlement. It’s possible that your case will settle at this stage of the proceedings.
It takes a couple of months to request a hearing and wait for your pre-hearing conference date. That means, if you have to take your case through the pre-hearing process, it will add a couple of months onto the timeline to resolve the case. If you use the pre-hearing process and then settle your case, it can take as long as six months to settle your Denver workers’ comp case.
After a hearing:
If you don’t resolve your case in the pre-hearing process, your case goes to a hearing before a judge. You may request an expedited hearing which takes place within 45 days of the request. If the hearing isn’t expedited, it takes place 80-100 days from when you make the request. After your hearing, you wait for the judge’s decision. The complete process can add up to four months to the time that it takes to receive your settlement. At this point, it’s probably between eight months to a year from the time that you reached your maximum medical improvement and began to pursue settlement negotiations.
After the hearing:
If you’re not happy with the result of the hearing, you can still pursue additional court reviews. You have 20 days after the judge’s decision to file a Petition for Review. You must order a transcript. The documents that you submit to the court include a legal brief that outlines why you believe the judge made an incorrect decision. The Industrial Claims Appeal Panel hears your appeal and issues a decision within sixty days. This entire process can take several months.
After an appeal:
When you’re unsatisfied with the decision of the appeals panel, you may take your case to the Colorado Court of Appeals. You can even take your case all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court can decide whether or not to hear the case. Filing the case with the Court of Appeals means filing transcripts, preparing legal briefs, waiting for a hearing date, and arguing your case. Taking your case all the way to the Colorado Court of Appeals can mean that the case takes two years or more to resolve.
How Long Does the Average Workers’ Comp Case Take to Settle?
Reading about the average settlement times for workers’ comp cases may leave you feeling discouraged. Two years can seem like a lifetime to wait when you need benefits now. Rest assured that the vast majority of cases don’t take two years to settle. Most cases fall somewhere in between the fast resolution of sixty days and a drawn-out appeals process of a couple of years. Carefully documenting your injuries and taking the right steps can go a long way to getting you the resolution that you deserve quickly. It’s also important to remember to take additional steps to act quickly if your worker’s comp has been denied.
Should I Settle My Colorado Workers’ Comp Case?
Knowing when to settle your workers’ compensation case is a balancing act. You want and deserve a fair resolution to the case. You also need to settle your case quickly and get the relief that you need. It can be hard to know whether you should accept the settlement. An experienced Denver workers’ comp lawyer can give you the guidance that you need to resolve your workers’ comp case in the best and most efficient way possible.
Contact Our Denver Workers’ Comp Attorneys
Each workers’ comp case is unique. It’s impossible to tell how long it’s going to take to resolve your case based on other cases or based on what’s typical. Do you want to know how long it’s going to take to settle your workers’ comp case? Contact our Denver workers’ compensation lawyers for a free consultation.
It’s our goal to fight aggressively on your behalf until we settle your case quickly and for an amount that fairly represents your losses and damages. Call us today to begin. We look forward to hearing from you.
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No upfront fees, no risk, and no cost to you or your family