The Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates are dedicated to helping injured workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. With over almost 30 years of experience, we have what it takes to fight for the most favorable settlement in your case. At Kantrovitz & Associates, we evaluate all of your legal options and strive to secure optimum benefits in every workers’ compensation claim we pursue.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Workers’ compensation benefits can be paid in a lump-sum settlement negotiated between the injured worker and the employer’s insurance company. Because the insurance company is armed with legal representation, having your own advocate is in your best interest. In most cases, insurers are more concerned with their own bottom line than with fairly compensating you for your loss. Further, they want to return with a minimal figure so that the employer agrees with the settlement. The help of an experienced attorney can be critical to obtaining the best settlement for your claim.
Lump-Sum Settlements and Benefits
A settlement serves as a legal contract between you, the insurer, and the employer. By taking a lump-sum figure, you are accepting a one-time payment instead of weekly compensation checks. However, when liability is established, your medical rights remain open and you still have 2 years to pursue vocational rehabilitation. Before accepting a settlement, make sure that certain things are clear, including:
- Your legal rights and options
- What rights you may be giving up
- Which option serves your best interests
- Your eligibility for paid vocational services
Once the parties arrive at a settlement, it must be approved by an administrative judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents. If you were not represented until this point, this is a critical time to seek legal advice and to discuss your rights with an attorney. Make sure the settlement is clear, and that you are comfortable with all the terms, before signing the agreement.
Settlement and Third-Party Liability
A lump-sum payment does not affect your medical benefits. You will receive these benefits as you did prior to the lump sum settlement. A third-party settlement occurs when your injury is caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer or co-worker. The Workers’ Compensation Act allows either the injured worker or the insurance company to initiate a claim for recovery against the third party. The only requirements are that:
- The insurer has to wait seven months after the injury to initiate a third-party claim
- The third-party settlement is not required to be in the best interests of either party
- The third-party and lump-sum claims must be heard at the same time
- The lump-sum agreement has to be in the employee’s best interest
This means that presenting an approved third-party settlement in court is a problem when the overall agreement includes a lump sum. If this occurs, the insurer is forfeiting its right to recover from the third party. If the court approves the third-party settlement, but the judge decides that the lump-sum does not serve the employee’s best interests, a conflict may arise. Make sure that both petitions are heard by the Department of Industrial Accidents at the same time.
Consult a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
To make sure you get everything squared away before your settlement agreement is finalized, contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys of Kantrovitz & Associates today. We can address third-party petitions, advise you of your personal injury rights, and explain the difference between a lump-sum payment and weekly benefits so that you can choose the best option. We have obtained substantial settlement awards for injured workers in communities including Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Merrimack Valley. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.