When you get a settlement for your workers’ compensation claim, you have the option of choosing a lump sum settlement or stipulated payment. A lump sum settlement pays the entire settlement at once, while stipulated payments distribute the settlement in installments.A lump sum payment offers certain advantages, but there are some downsides, too. The best arrangement for your workers’ compensation claim largely depends on your situation, namely, the extent of your condition. A workers’ compensation attorney can explain what a lump sum settlement is in a workers’ comp claim and whether it’s your best option.
Benefits of Choosing a Lump Sum for Your Workers’ Comp Settlement
Lump sum payments compensate you all at once for your on-the-job injury. If you have fully recovered and can return to work, this may be a good option for you. Some benefits of a lump sum settlement include:
Your Settlement Value Is Guaranteed
Sometimes, a lump sum payment will give you a higher settlement value upfront. It also locks in a specific value, so if your employer or workers’ comp carrier tries to dispute the claim later, you’re guaranteed the accepted settlement amount.
You Can Pay Outstanding Bills
With a lump sum settlement, you can pay outstanding medical bills and other costs immediately. Stipulated payments, on the other hand, can complicate bill payments since you get a set amount on a bi-weekly basis.Overall, lump sum payments are best following a full recovery for minor or short-term injuries. Unfortunately, accepting a lump sum could harm you in the long run if you require more medical treatment or your condition worsens. Before accepting a lump sum settlement, talk to your lawyer. They can advise you on your next steps and help you make informed decisions.
Downsides of a Lump Sum Settlement in a Workers’ Comp Claim
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers usually offer a lump sum settlement to reduce their overall payout. In exchange for a lump sum settlement, you may be asked to sign a Compromise and Release Agreement. By signing such an agreement, you agree not to seek further compensation related to your work injury or illness. This option presents several disadvantages:
You Could Forfeit Disability Benefits
When a workplace injury prevents you from working, you have a right to compensation for lost wages through disability claims. A lump sum settlement with a Compromise and Release can prevent you from securing disability benefits through workers’ comp.
You May Not Reopen Your Claim
A Compromise and Release can also be problematic if your work-caused condition worsens after you accept the settlement. If you need more medical treatment or miss work because of your injury, you cannot pursue more compensation through workers’ comp.
Your Dependents Could Lose Death Benefits
A lump sum settlement agreement for workers’ comp could also prevent your dependents from seeking death benefits if you pass away due to your work-related injury or illness. This could leave your family in dire financial straits in your absence.
When a Stipulated Payment for Workers’ Comp is Your Best Option
Instead of a lump sum settlement, many people secure their workers’ compensation benefits in installments. These stipulated payments may be disbursed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
With a settlement payment schedule in place, you can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits until you return to work or reach the allotted benefit limit.
There is no Compromise and Release agreement involved in this type of settlement. If your condition worsens or returns, you can reapply for benefits or reopen the existing workers’ compensation claim within five years of your injury date.
An Los Angeles employment law attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims can explain how stipulated payments could work for your claim.
A Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help Negotiate Your Settlement Method
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to provide the financial support you need to recover your health. Unfortunately, insurance carriers often look for reasons to reduce or deny workers’ comp claims. This is where a workers’ compensation lawyer comes in. An attorney can help you:
Pursue the Maximum Settlement Value
A workers’ compensation attorney ensures that your settlement reflects your losses. Losses covered by workers’ compensation typically include:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary Disability Benefits
- Permanent Disability Benefits
- Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit (SJDB)
- Death benefits
Meet Workers’ Comp Deadlines
Your attorney will help you submit the correct paperwork within the required deadlines. For example, you must submit a workers’ compensation claim within 30 days of your injury. Complying with this deadline protects your right to workers’ comp benefits.
Address Delayed Benefit Payments
If the workers’ comp carrier wrongfully delays your benefit payments, a workers’ comp lawyer can fight for your right to compensation. They will know your benefit eligibility and how to enforce the 90-day rule for completing a claim.
Request Additional Medical Opinions
When you need a doctor’s assessment, your workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that the information provided is correct and consistent with your needs. They can help you dispute inaccurate medical assessments and seek a second opinion. They can also help you seek an independent medical review if you dispute the medical treatment plan or assessment.
Appeal Denied Claims
If workers’ compensation denies your benefits, your attorney can file an appeal and secure the necessary information to bolster your claim. Since the appeals process is handled like a civil trial, you could benefit from having an attorney who completes the necessary legal filings and represents you in the courtroom.
Explain Your Best Settlement Options
Once the insurer approves your workers’ compensation claim, your attorney can determine whether a lump sum settlement or installment option is best for your situation. Depending on your circumstances, they may advise you to accept a lump sum as offered.
For more complicated cases, your lawyer can negotiate a reasonable settlement that covers the full extent of your losses. If your claim involves disability payments or extended medical treatment, you may benefit from a periodic payment plan rather than a lump sum.
Ask a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Lump Sum Settlements
If your claims administrator offers you a lump sum settlement, contact KJT Law Group today. Our attorney can outline what a lump sum settlement means in a workers’ compensation claim and weigh your options. Start a free case review now by calling (818) 507-8525.