Why You Shouldn’t Sign an Employer Agreement in a Worker’s Compensation Case
An employer agreement in a worker’s compensation case is called many things. Besides an “employer’s agreement” it can also be called a “clincher agreement” or a “settlement.” Such settlements involve paying the employee a lump sum of money in exchange for releasing liability against the employer. It’s a very tempting offer for this reason:
It’s quick. A quick settlement means that the company – and the employee – can get out of being wrapped up in so many legalities and get back to work. For the employee, they are likely injured and out of work. If they are earning some kind of injury or sick leave benefits, it is probably only a percentage of their usual earnings. Debt from unpaid bills are probably stacking up. A lot of workers have families to support, and their disabilities may prevent them from taking on usual responsibilities in the household. A lump of money – and right now – is not an easy thing to pass up.
Unfortunately, while tempting, it might not be the best long-term solution. Signing a clincher agreement that absolves the employer of all liability means that possible life-long medical bills and lost wages and job opportunities are left to the responsibility of the employee. This could add up to exponentially more than whatever lump sum the employer offered in the clincher.
For the employer, a clincher is a major win. For one lump sum, they never have to worry about the injury again, while the employer may have to struggle with the consequences for the rest of their life. The financial consequences may even be passed on to their children.
Even though it’s often a difficult road, consulting an attorney and getting advice and help make an agreement that ensures any lifelong medical problems, lost wages, and more are taken care of by the employer responsible is the best long-term solution. Remember, the injury may be threatening the livelihood and lifestyle of the employee. You don’t know what hidden problems may pop up in the future from this injury or situation. Draw up a contract with a safety net so that you and your family will be taken care of.