When the North Carolina workers comp insurance carrier you have been arguing with for months suddenly offers you a better than expected deal with a substantial amount deposited to your bank account at the end of the month, you are right to suspect that you should think twice before signing the paperwork.
Insurance companies like clincher agreements, because they like predictable and short term results. They will go out of their way to make you sign a clincher, which looks attractive to you at first sight, but could be disastrous over the long term.
What is a clincher agreement?
After you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement and you have been released by the doctor, the insurance company may want to close their file and offer you a premium for settling your case immediately, renouncing your job and waiving your rights to benefits in the future.
The agreement is a contract between you, the employer and the insurance company whereby you are paid compensation now for any future medical treatment, for your impairment rating and lost wages during a period of time necessary for you to find a new job within your restrictions. Such a contract is usually drafted by the insurance company’s lawyer and is submitted to the North Carolina Industrial Commission for approval. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is required to continue paying the benefits you are entitled to until the day the agreed upon amount has been paid to you.
What is wrong with a clincher deal?
Of course, the deal is presented as a substantial improvement over the benefits you would normally receive. Insurance companies are generally quite good at mathematics; however, they may ask you for something in exchange: a waiver over any future claim that might arise in the future, for any reason whatsoever. After you sign the agreement, you are on your own, whatever the evolution of the job market, of your health, your impairment or the cost of health care and services you might need. On top of which, by resigning from your old job, you are not entitled to unemployment benefits anymore.
Before signing a clincher agreement, you should consult with an experienced and skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to look at your case, verify the benefits to which you are entitled, calculate the present value of future benefits, look at your medical records and the proposed agreement.
Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671 or contact us online for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.
And be sure to download Joe Miller’s free book The North Carolina Workers Compensation Guide to Settlements.