The Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have over almost 30 years of experience litigating workers’ compensation claims. We put our legal know-how to work for you in recovering benefits after an injury. Our office provides award-winning representation to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
Lump Sum Settlements
In many cases, insurers would rather settle out of court by giving the injured worker a one-time lump sum payment in lieu of weekly benefit checks and certain other benefits. Lump sums affect many benefits, including vocational rehabilitation services. By law, insurers cannot include extra money for vocational rehabilitation in the lump-sum payment. Workers must seek an eligibility determination of vocational rehabilitation within 2 years (104 weeks) after approval of the settlement or forever forfeit their rights.
Lump Sum Benefits
Many hard workers are excited by the prospect of receiving one large payment rather than a fraction of their weekly wage paid over time. In many cases, this relief is appropriate. But before agreeing to any settlement, workers should know their rights. Lump sums involve:
- A contract between the worker and insurer
- Parties’ agreement to one-time payment only
- Affected employers must give written consent
- Worker will not receive weekly benefit checks
- Administrative judge must approve amount
Whether to accept a lump sum in place of weekly benefits requires weighing the payment against the loss of potential benefits. Never sign a binding contract or accept a settlement offer without first consulting an attorney.
Lump Sum Drawbacks
Acceptance of a lump sum payment also means giving up certain rights. The settlement closes the employee’s workers’ compensation case for that specific injury, but not future injuries. The lump sum may also foreclose rights to a variety of other benefits, including:
- Future weekly benefits
- Loss of function claims
- Any disfigurement claim
- Future medical care costs
- Return to work presumption
Workers are entitled to “causally related, reasonable and necessary” future medical expenses only if the insurer accepts liability for the injury. The insurer has the right to challenge future medical bills at any time before or after the settlement. By accepting the lump sum, the worker is also “presumed” incapable of returning to the same job for one month for every $1,500 awarded.
When to Consider Accepting a Lump Sum
Some factors to consider in deciding whether to settle or pursue a claim include:
- Ability to work again
- Future medical care costs
- Proof of work-related injury
- Present income and expenses
- Potential medical complications
- Effect on retirement, pension rights
- Any pending third-party liability claim
An experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and the most favorable avenue of relief.
Recovering Benefits or Lump Sums
If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim or lump sum settlement, consult the Massachusetts worker disability attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates today. We have the experience and dedication necessary for seeking the outcome that will be the most beneficial to you. We have successfully represented injured workers in Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Merrimack River. Call (800) 367-0871 to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer or contact us online.