Although workers’ comp benefits are determined by statute in Massachusetts, there is some room for negotiation with the insurance company. In fact, insurance companies often offer a workers’ comp settlement instead of continuing to pay over time because it will “close out” their file. From an injured workers’ standpoint, however, this may not always be a good idea.
What is Included in a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
Most settlements involve a lump sum payment. There are, however, situations where you can set up the settlement to pay you a specific amount over time. Your settlement will generally include:
- The indemnity payments that you would have gotten on a weekly basis
- An amount for past medical expenses (if they were not already paid)
- An amount for potential future medical payments
- Any other disputed amounts
Each lump sum settlement must be approved by the Department of Industrial Accidents. They do this to ensure that the worker or employee is not being unfairly taken advantage of, but this review will not catch all of those types of situations because they do not know your full story. Having an attorney to work with you on your settlement options is an invaluable resource.
Lump sum settlements are appealing because they get you your benefits faster. However, the total amount of benefits you receive is reduced to the present value. Basically, this means that you are receiving less money because you are getting it all now instead of waiting for payments.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Settlements
There are two major types of workers’ compensation settlements in Massachusetts, and the best option for you will depend on our unique situation and injury. Determining the benefits and drawbacks of each option before you sign anything or make any decisions is extremely important.
- Lump Sum without liability. This type of settlement closes out your workers’ compensation case. That means that your employer will not have to pay for any of your future medical care related to the injury. Generally, these settlements will only occur when the employer is contesting liability. That means that your employer does not believe your injury was work related or that you should be paid at all under workers’ compensation. They still offer you a settlement to end the expense of litigation and they eliminate the potential risk of losing at trial.
- Lump Sum with liability. This type of settlement does not close out your workers’ comp case. Instead, it provides you with a lump sum, but leaves the opportunity to have future medical care related to your condition open. Insurance companies do not like this type of settlement, but it really is the best option for most employees who may have future medical needs related to their injury. Employers will usually enter this type of settlement when they are not contesting the compensability of your injury.
Once you have an approved settlement, you can continue to work at your current employer or you can find another job if you would like. However, your employer is not legally allowed to terminate you just because of your workers’ comp settlement.
Getting the right settlement for your situation can be very complicated. The best way to ensure that you are receiving a fair workers’ comp settlement is to talk with a workers’ compensation attorney. Call today!