Workers' Comp Settlements: Is a Lump Sum the Right Choice?
When is a Settlement Necessary?
When a worker is injured on the job and files a workers' compensation claim, they have multiple options. In some workers' comp cases, an employee negotiates with their employer and their employer's insurance to cover the cost of medical bills and a percentage of any wages lost. However, many workers' comp cases end in a settlement or lump sum payment, especially those involving more serious workplace injuries. When it comes to workers' comp settlements, there are two possibilities: a stipulated finding and award, and a compromise and release.
Comparing the Types of Workers' Compensation Settlements
Stipulated Finding and Award
When a judge makes decision about a case, that decision is known as a "finding and award." In workers' comp situations, a stipulated finding and award is a settlement that is voluntarily agreed upon by both parties rather than decided by a judge. A doctor determines the level of injury or disability, which in turn provides the information necessary to determine the amount of the settlement. The benefit of a stipulated finding is that it could be reopened in the future should the employee require further medical treatment as a result of his or her injury.
Compromise and Release
This kind of settlement provides you with a lump sum versus payments over time and closes the case entirely. Though amount of the lump sum is usually more than the amount you would have received through disability payments, but that is only because the difference is intended to cover any future medical expenses. However, any additional care must then be covered by you or your health insurance since a compromise and release settlement cannot be reopened. If you would rather cover future medical care through your own insurance, then a compromise and release may be the choice for you.
Workers' Comp Settlement Amounts
This is a nearly impossible question to answer, as workers' compensation settlement amounts will vary based on the type of injury suffered and the severity of any permanent impairment. With that being said, studies have found that most settlement amounts total between $2,000 and $20,000.
According to a 2015 study on workers' compensation settlements and awards:
12% of workers received less than $2,000
55% of workers received between $2,000 and $20,000
13% of workers received between $2,001 and $40,000
12% of workers received between $40,001 and $60,000
8% of workers received between $60,000 and $100,000
Other factors which can influence the amount of a settlement include the quality of legal representation, whether or not negotiations are conducted, and whether or not a worker chooses to file an appeal to seek more benefits.
Call to Consult with a Walnut Creek Workers' Comp Attorney.
Before making any decision regarding a workers' comp settlement, it is very important to speak with a Walnut Creek workers' comp lawyer. Our attorneys have six decades of legal experience and could use their extensive knowledge and understanding of workers' comp law to help you determine which choice is best for you. We can also inform you in case a personal injury claim or crossover case would be more beneficial for your situation. Get more information about all of these options by calling today!