Some background before my questions:
I ruptured L4-5 disk several months ago in an incident at work. Worker Comp has been slow but ultimately approved/ arranged for MRI, steroid shots, Physical Therapy, and I have been on very limited activity. Since the incident, I have been able to loose some weight. All said and done, it has helped. I am not symptom free but leg pain and tingling sensations have been reduced greatly (still feel them - they are not as strong as they used to be). I have not had to miss any work other than medical appointment times. It was very uncomfortable the first months, but I was able to work. My most noticeable problem now is that I am a back sleeper and can't stay in that position very long before I start to feel discomfort. Therefore, I sleep on one or the other side, but wake often during the night. Haven't had uninterrupted sleep since the work related accident.
Last week I was offered a settlement. According to the physician I have a 5% disability of this whole body injury. If I accept the settlement, Worker Comp will not pay for any future medical treatment for this injury. I haven't had any medical treatment is 60 days other than brief visits to the doctor who submitted the disability determination. I have not consulted a lawyer throughout this process. I am able to walk and move now. I have increased my activity lately- lifting, carrying weight, bending, squatting, yard, work, etc. I am being very careful and continue to strengthen more core muscles.
Questions: Is this settlement offer "right"? How can I determine if it is or isn't? Is there a way to verify if the settlement is fair and just? Should I consult with a lawyer? What benefit does a lawyer offer and what is the cost? The settlement offer seems like a lot of money until one calculates that PT appointments are $110+, hospital visits are thousands just to start and surgery could be 10x-20x what they are offering. What should I do with the offer?
Thank you for the help.