Lump Sum Settlements
An injured worker who qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits may opt for a lump sum settlement in lieu of weekly wage compensation. Boston workers’ compensation attorney Michael O. Smith can provide the legal counseling and representation you need in your workers’ compensation case. Mr. Smith has handled numerous workers’ compensation claims over the course of his 15 years in legal practice. He can advise you on your right to benefits and effectively negotiate a lump sum settlement if that is appropriate in your case. Call our office today to see how we can help you.Lump Sum Settlements
An ill or injured worker may qualify for workers’ compensation, which can include coverage for lost wages and medical benefits. Wages benefits are paid on a weekly basis, and the amount a worker is entitled to receive depends on the extent of their disability.
In some cases, a lump settlement may be a viable alternative to receiving weekly compensation. A lump sum settlement is a contract between you, the insurer, and sometimes your employer. It is a one-time payment that replaces your weekly compensation checks.
Lump sum settlements are not a given in every workers’ compensation case. Even if the parties agree to a settlement, an administrative law judge must approve it. Massachusetts law specifically requires judges to review a proposal for a lump sum settlement to ensure it is in the best interest of the injured worker.Effect of a Lump Sum Settlement
A lump sum settlement will close your workers’ compensation case for the specific work-related injury or illness for which you initially filed your claim. This means that you cannot come back later and seek more benefits in your case. However, it will not affect any future or pending cases related to a claim for a separate and distinct injury.
Under Massachusetts law, lump sum agreements cannot prevent you from:
- Returning to your job;
- Receiving any pay or benefits owed to you by the employer;
- Bringing any future workers’ compensation claims; or
- Bringing claims of wrongful discharge or breach of contract against the employer.
The law also presumes that for every fifteen hundred dollars you receive as part of your settlement, you cannot return to work for a period of one month. This means that if your settlement includes an amount for $6,000 in lieu of weekly wages, you are presumed to be unable to return to work for four months.Factors to Consider
Before agreeing to a lump sum settlement, you should keep in mind that you give up your right to future weekly benefits by accepting a settlement. You may receive payments for future medical benefits causally related to your injury, but only if the insurer agrees to it or if a judge orders payment. An insurer has the right to dispute any future medical bills, so it is important to resolve any medical issues related to your injury before you agree to a settlement.Settlements with Third-Parties
A lump sum settlement can also impact your claim against a third party for the same injury. Unlike a lump sum settlement, third-party settlements do not have to be made with your best interest in mind. A proposed lump sum settlement and third-party claim can be presented to an administrative law judge simultaneously to ensure your best interests are actually met in your workers’ compensation case.Advocating for Your Rights
Boston workers’ compensation lawyer Michael O. Smith has significant experience helping workers seek benefits in their workers’ compensation claims. Mr. Smith has handled a number of workers’ compensation cases and can guide you from the initial filing to hearings before the Department of Industrial Accidents. With his extensive experience in this area, you can rely on advocacy and guidance that can help you achieve the best outcome for your case. Mr. Smith serves clients throughout the Boston area. Call us today at 617-263-0060 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation at no cost.