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May the parties settle a workers' compensation claim?
The Act permits employer and injured workers to settle claims for workers' compensation benefits, including medical expense benefits, and in the final analysis, unless an employee is fully recovered, most cases do settle. The issue is one of timing and amount. For example, if your treating doctor has recommended surgery, the insurance company may try to get you to settle your claim in the hopes of avoiding liability for the proposed treatment. However, you need to be very careful before settling the medical expense portion of your claim if you still require significant treatment, as any subsequent medical insurance company may refuse to pay for the treatment, claiming that it was part of your work injury. If your treating physician has concluded that your condition is permanent, the insurance company may try to get you to settle your claim, and the main issue for which you really need an experienced attorney is to figure out what a fair settlement would be.