If you have applied for workers’ compensation in Arkansas, one of the things you may have seen come up in your claim is the option to “settle” your case and receive a “lump sum.” This means that, instead of pursuing ongoing payments, you would end your case now and receive a one-time payment covering the benefits up front. Many may jump at the opportunity to receive money now, but the decision to take a workers’ comp. settlement may not always be the right move in your case.
It is important to discuss your options for workers’ comp. claims with an experienced attorney. Especially if you will be applying for disability alongside workers’ comp., there may be pros and cons to accepting a settlement for your workplace injury or work-related condition. For a free consultation on your case and for help understanding what choice is best in your situation, contact Fayetteville lump sum settlement lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.
What Does a Lump Sum Cover in Workers’ Compensation?
When you take a lump sum settlement for your workers’ compensation claim, you get all payments up front rather than as ongoing coverage. For missed wages, this is a relatively straightforward calculation, but for medical coverage, it may not be.
Workers’ compensation for a workplace injury or work-related condition often gives you a number of weeks’ worth of payments, based on the wages you will miss. This pays, at most, 2/3 of your normal wage for this whole period. Accounting for inflation over the time you will continue to receive benefits, it is simple enough to calculate a fair sum that will cover your ongoing payments all at once.
With medical coverage, procedures and treatments are also covered on an on-going basis. You may need to get pre-approval before seeking treatment in many cases, but workers’ compensation should cover whatever procedures are needed to help with your condition or injury. With some injuries, the treatment needs and ongoing care are quite predictable. For instance, after the loss of a finger, the cost of medical bills for reattaching the finger or closing the wounds, checkups with a doctor, and occupational therapy to get back to working with the injured or lost appendage may be easy to predict. In other cases, like cancer from working with certain chemicals, it may be more difficult to predict what medical care will be needed going forward.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies are often looking to minimize costs. This means they would rather work with a low-end prediction than a prediction that pays you too much for your medical treatment costs. This means that settlements are often lower than the maximum amount an insurance company may pay if you hold them to on-going coverage. Accepting a low offer may mean ultimately mean paying out of pocket for treatment, but it also guarantees that you have the money as soon as possible. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney to see if a lump sum will cover your full needs.
Should I Settle for a Lump Sum Workers’ Comp. Payment?
There are many factors to consider in your case, and the answer of whether you should settle will be different for each case. If your condition is stable and getting better, odds are you may be able to predict all future needs and settle for a reasonable amount, now. If your condition could get worse over time, you may be foregoing coverage that you could keep by demanding ongoing payments. However, your condition could always improve to a point where workers’ compensation payments may stop, whether you are truly “better” or not. Having a lump sum already paid might avoid being cut-off later. Discussing the risks and options with an attorney is vital in making a decision of whether or not to settle.
If you are planning on applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) alongside your workers’ compensation benefits, a lump sum settlement may be better. When the Social Security Administration calculates SSD benefits, they calculate your monthly income, which will “offset” how much you receive in SSD payments. If you receive a high monthly workers’ comp. check, your SSD payments may become very low.
Accepting a lump sum agreement may allow your attorney to structure your workers’ comp agreement such that your workers’ comp. settlement is drawn out over a longer period of time. This may give you less monthly income than it would without the settlement, and will offset your SSD payments, ensuring you receive more benefits from Social Security.
Factors like this are vital for any workers’ compensation lawyer to take into account. Your workers’ comp. attorney can help you understand better how this might affect your case.
Fayetteville, Arkansas Lump Sum Settlement Lawyer for Workers’ Comp.
When applying for workers’ compensation, it is important to consult with a lawyer before accepting any settlements from your employer or their workers’ comp. insurance company. Because workers’ comp settlements are based on estimated payments, there is always a chance that settlements may not fully cover your needs. For a free consultation on your case, contact Fayetteville workers’ comp. lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.