Depending on the seriousness of an injury, workers injured on the job may wish to consider a settlement of their workers’ compensation claim to receive a lump sum payment.
Cases where someone might consider a lump settlement instead of ongoing medical expense reimbursement and wage replacement include:
(A) Workers whose doctors are not recommending surgery or other serious treatment, and
(B) Workers who are feeling a marked improvement following a workplace injury
Some workers consider a lump sum settlement knowing that the insurer’s obligation to pay their medical bills remains only as long as treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to the work injury – which is not really up to the worker, but a doctor chosen by the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Once a judge determines that you have fully recovered from your work injury, the workers’ compensation insurer is not required to continue to pay medical bills or wage replacement, and the incentive to offer a lump sum payment is gone.
The drawbacks of settling have to be weighed of course – the decision depends on the unique circumstances of the employee involved. First consider that in most, if not all cases, medical benefits for the work related injury will cease upon settlement so it is important to settle only if there is not have a serious medical issue or anticipation of exorbitant medical costs. If they are unable or limited from work because of an injury, that should give an employee pause.
On the flip side of that argument, if a worker elects to take a lump sum settlement because they are “out of the woods”on an injury, it is always possible to receive care through a spouse’s employer health care plan or purchase health insurance after a settlement to address lingering aches and pains related to a work injury. It is possible to take a less physically demanding job.
Of course, every case is unique and working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will help you make the right decision for your unique circumstances. If medical treatment is important to you indefinitely, a worker’s compensation attorney will fight to keep your claim open while you get the treatment you need. As time goes on, or in the event you are not interested in pursuing further medical treatment, an attorney can negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf – typically much higher than what a worker would be able to negotiate on their own even when considering an attorney fee.
The workers’ compensation attorneys of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC will fight for your workers’ compensation claim benefits following a workplace injury and seek the best possible settlement on your behalf if and when the time comes. We have obtained thousands of settlements on behalf of Quad City area workers, and we can help you too. Contact us at 563-355-6478.