No Such Thing as a Settlement Under FECA

A Judges gavel at Cherry Hill, NJ.

Getting hurt on the job can be terrifying. Besides dealing with the injury at hand, employees need to know where to turn for compensation. At Aumiller Lomax, we strive to offer top-tier legal help for federal employees who have been injured as a result of their job duties. Federal workers hurt on the job are potentially eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under FECA. Many of our clients are eligible for FECA, a program that allows federal workers to receive the compensation they deserve. However, the specifics of this law can quickly become confusing, especially since things people are familiar with, like settlements and courts dates, don’t apply. The attorneys at Aumiller Lomax can walk you through how your case fits into this strange system your unique case and explain, among other things, why there’s no such thing as a settlement when it comes to FECA claims.

What Is FECA?

The Federal Employees Compensation Act, or FECA, is a provision that allows federal workers who have been injured on the job the opportunity to seek workers’ compensation benefits. In effect, FECA is the federal equivalent of state workers’ compensation laws. These regulations apply to all kinds of employees who work for the federal government, including:

Earn Compensation without Going to Court

Under FECA, claimants must provide evidence to show that they deserve compensation for injuries on the job. If the claimant satisfies the burden of proof, then they would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits as appropriate in the context of their case. Generally, the three benefits that a claimant could be entitled to are: wage replacement compensation benefits, medical benefits, and/or a schedule award. To receive any of these types of compensation, claimants do not have to go to court or appear before a judge. Instead, the Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) will review the case and decide—no judge, jury, or negotiation involved.

If Not a Settlement, Then What?

Cases involving FECA don’t end with a settlement. There is no negotiation or “closing out” a case in the way people might be familiar with. Schedule awards are typically confused with a settlement, but legally, they are not one and the same. A schedule award is an official recognition of your injury or impairment. It is only available for certain categories of injuries and is only awarded if the claimant satisfies a burden of proof with sufficient evidence.

Case Closed? Not Under FECA

Because federal workers’ compensation doesn’t allow for a traditional settlement, cases do not technically “close” either. Once the schedule award and all benefits are paid out, a case under FECA may no longer be active, but it can always be reopened in appropriate circumstances. If you and your attorney find further evidence regarding your case, you are welcome to reopen it. Unlike many state legal systems, FECA has no time limit on when you can reopen a claim.

How Aumiller Lomax Can Help

Don’t deal with a federal workers’ compensation claim alone. While information about FECA is easily found online, independent research can be difficult and sometimes misleading. The attorneys at Aumiller Lomax will walk you through all aspects of FECA claims and the process for receiving a schedule award. Applying for compensation is meticulous and time-consuming, but with our team on your side, you can focus on recovery rather than legal issues.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

If you’ve been injured while working for a federal organization, you still may be able to get the funds you need to pay medical bills and replace a portion of your lost income. Further, even though there’s no such thing as a true settlement under FECA, you may be entitled to compensation in the form of a schedule award (a benefit for permanent injury). The attorneys at Aumiller Lomax work with clients across the nation, helping them navigate FECA and begin the recovery process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.