What Is a Lump-Sum Settlement?
At some point after a workplace injury, the workers’ compensation insurance company may want to talk about settlement. This can either be a one-time monetary payout or a structured settlement that provides periodic payments that will end in the future. The insurance company may also offer to provide medical benefits for a short period. Acceptance of a settlement offer ends your worker’s compensation claim
Hilley & Frieder is a team of experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys who have advised and represented thousands of clients in workers’ compensation cases since 1976. We have the experience and knowledge to protect our clients’ rights and to guide them to the right decisions about settlement offers.
Call us at 404-233-6200 to schedule a free consultation at our Atlanta office or over the phone.
Should I Accept a Lump-Sum Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
The question of whether to accept a work comp settlement offer is very complex. Some settlement offers are in the best interests of injured workers, while others may deny them the workers’ compensation benefits, they deserve. Before you accept a lump-sum settlement offer, get legal advice from an experienced attorney.
Many considerations need to be addressed in your settlement. Here are some examples:
- How long can you expect to draw disability income benefits?
- Will you be able to return to work? If so, will you have to change the type of work you do?
- Is your condition medically stable or do you have a continuing need for medical care?
- Have you gotten well enough to return to work either doing your previous job or some other work?
- If you will not be able to return to work, should you consider Social Security Disability?
- Should you file for Social Security Disability before you settle your case or wait until after settling?
- If Social Security Disability and Medicare are involved, part of the settlement will be money that you can use only for medical treatment that would otherwise be covered through the insurance company. This money is called a Medicare Set Aside (MSA). How the MSA is handled will affect how you can use the other settlement money.
- Will some of your settlement have to be paid to cover disputed medical expenses or can these expenses be paid at the lower rates of the workers’ compensation fee schedule?
- Will some of your settlement have to be paid to another insurance company for subrogation or reimbursement?
- Will some of the money have to be set up as periodic payments instead of a lump sum?
- When is a good time to settle, considering when your medical benefits and weekly benefits will run out?
- Will your case be worth more if you settle now or wait?
Settlement is a financial decision. You are trading your continuing right to medical care and weekly benefits for a lump sum of money. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you identify all the factors to consider for your case and reach the best decision.
Legal Issues and Practical Concerns Regarding Settlement Offers
Our lawyer will work aggressively to get the best settlement for your case. When reviewing settlement offers, we examine all relevant issues. You may wish to settle if you have been released to work by a doctor or if you are eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. You can still work while drawing SSD benefits. On the other hand, the insurance company cannot force you to accept a settlement offer, and it may make sense to keep your claim open. A lawyer at our firm can review your case and provide you with the guidance you need.