When you are injured in the workplace, the natural tendency is to experience stress and anxiety about your financial future. An extended period of time off from work and lost income can threaten the ability of injured employees and their families to pay monthly bills and maintain their standard of living.
Our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys are often asked if they should accept a lump sum settlement. A lump sum check now can be an appealing alternative to weekly workers’ compensation payments that only amount to a percentage of your pay prior to suffering a workplace injury or illness. While Pennsylvania law permits a workers’ compensation claimant to accept a lump sum settlement, this does not necessarily mean such a settlement is in an employee’s best interest.
The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act permits workers’ compensation insurers and injured employees to forgo weekly or bi-weekly payments in lieu of a “lump sum” payment. This settlement process is often referred to as a “Compromise and Release.” The lump sum settlement can be predicated on past, present, and anticipated lost wages, or for both medical care benefits and lost income.
Despite the obvious appeal of up-front payment, the workers’ compensation carrier typically will attempt to settle for far less than the actual value of the claim. Workers’ compensation claimants should never accept a lump sum payment without legal advice from an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyer who can advocate for the injured workers’ interest and seek the most lucrative lump sum payment possible under the circumstances.
While the judge must approve the agreement, this process is only designed to ensure that a claimant understands the terms of the agreement and the consequences of executing the document. There are a wide range of factors that must be considered when you are evaluating a potential lump sum settlement, such as:
- Does the amount represent a fair and equitable settlement based on the value of your claim?
- Will you need significant further medical procedures or surgeries?
- Are you still making progress toward your recovery?
- Could your prognosis decline or might you experience other medical conditions?
- Do you face the prospect of not being able to work for years into the future?
- Has the hassle of dealing with the insurance company gotten to the point that you simply want to get on with your life?
These are just a few of the considerations that must be weighed if you are contemplating a lump sum settlement of your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. Given the enormous cost of hospitalization, surgery, and other types of medical care, claimants should never accept a lump sum settlement without legal advice. Our experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo advise our clients regarding the potential risks and benefits of a lump sum settlement. They also engage in persuasive negotiations to pursue the best outcome for injured workers that elect to pursue this option. Call us now, toll free, at (877) 299-0779 to learn more about how we can help you.