If your employer’s workers compensation insurer offers you a lump sum settlement for a workers' compensation claim, you shouldn’t respond immediately but study the matter more carefully before you make a final decision.
Few insurers would take this step unless there was something in it for them. Typically, once the settlement has been paid there is not much you can do to change it.
If you believe you are being forced to take a lump sum settlement talk to a workers’ comp’ attorney who will help to determine what you should do next.
What Should You Consider Before Accepting a Lump Sum Settlement?
Overall, the insurer may gain the most from settling the claim with a lump sum. In order for you to truly benefit from this type of settlement you need to answer the following questions.
- Do you know your physical condition?
- Are you likely to ever be fit enough to return to work?
- Do you believe the early settlement fairly represents your financial hardship?
- Can you calculate approximately what you financial burden is now and is likely to be in the future?
Once you have given these questions some thought you may be in a better position to make a reliable decision so that you don’t lose out financially.
Conditions the Workers’ Comp. Insurer May Set
You are entitled to workers’ comp. benefits only for the time you are unable to work. If you are being paid weekly you may find that the insurer checks up on you to see if you are fit to return to work.
You may be asked to see their physicians once in six months. Your benefits will be stopped if the insurer thinks you are fit to return to work.
If you think that you won’t be long off work you could settle for a lump sum as at least you will know where you stand financially.
Consider the Chance Your Condition Could Get Worse
If your health worsens and you think you are likely to become permanently disabled, it may be a good idea not to accept a lump sum payment.
Typically, workers who suffer a permanent disability due to the workplace accident and injury may be entitled to benefits equivalent to 2/3 of their average weekly wage. This never expires and sooner or later may even be adjusted for the present cost of living.
If the insurance provider has been responsible for paying for your medical treatment this may continue whether you settle for a lump sum payment or not.
Talk to a Workers’ Comp. Attorney Before Accepting a Lump Sum Settlement
What’s considered to be a reasonable settlement is what you and the insurer can amicably agree on. As long as you are sure the amount offered is sufficient to cover your financial hardship then the decision to accept is up to you.
If you feel you are being coerced in some way, talk to a workers’ comp. attorney before it is too late.