The title to this post was actually the subject line of an e-mail from a claims adjustor for an insurance company that represents a large corporation.  The e-mail went on to read that the case had to get wrapped up in January and only January and that she wasn’t going to overpay either.
This is a dirty little secret of the insurance industry.  These adjustors get paid bonuses based on how many cases they can close.  My guess is that her bonus period ends on the 31st which is why she is so desperate to move the cases this month.  In fact, she said she wasn’t interested in talking in February.
Now she might not overpay, but you can bet that she will pay full value for what a case is worth.  She’s only worried about her bonus, not about the bottom line of her company, you, me or anyone else.
This is why it pays to have a lawyer that knows when adjustors are going to get paid.  We know when they are most motivated to be reasonable.
Now you should never settle before you are ready to.  Once you close out your case, you won’t be able to get additional medical treatment if you need it.
But I laugh (and cringe) when I hear stories of people who have tried through their attorney for over a year to get a settlement and don’t have an offer.  The insurance company doesn’t want to give you anything.  They usually won’t offer anything (or anything fair) if you don’t file a case because they hope you will wait to long.  But if a case has been filed and your lawyer reaches out, eventually you will get something fair.
Unlike catastrophic car accident cases or medical malpractice lawsuits where many people have to sign off on a settlement, most insurance adjusters for Illinois workers’ compensation claims can settle for anything they want up to a certain number.   But that number is usually more than most cases are worth.  You quickly realize that while they won’t just give money away, a lot of them don’t care about their jobs.  They certainly don’t worry about their clients as much as we do.
The busiest settlement month is certainly December, but really in almost any month you can resolve a case with a good, aggressive approach.  And as you can see from this insurance company e-mail, there are times where they will be aggressive as well.

By Michael Helfand