When you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, they are paid on a weekly basis. For some people, however, weekly benefits do not work well because they have financial obligations that they need to cover. In some situations, settlement or commutation might be an option for you and your family. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you through this process.
Lump Sum Settlements
Lump sum settlements are available in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases. If you have been off work for more than four months and are still receiving workers’ compensation benefits, then you may be able to obtain a lump sum settlement. This type of settlement is popular because you wrap up all of the money that you are owed into one sum, and the insurance company writes you a check. It makes the process much faster and, in many cases, easier to manage.
There are some drawbacks to a lump sum payment, however. If you agree to one, you must also agree to a “release.” The release means that you are getting this money in exchange for future claims, including claims for additional medical expenses.
In many cases, you can continue to receive medical benefits as long as you need them, but this benefit often ends in a lump sum settlement agreement. For those who are unsure of whether they will need future treatment, a lump sum payment may not be a good option.
To protect employees’ rights, a workers’ compensation judge must approve all lump sum settlements.
Although they are not technically a settlement, commuted benefits seem like a lump sum settlement in many ways. You receive money the same way that you would in a lump sum settlement, but the money may be discounted to present value. Commuted benefits mean that you reduce the total amount of money to account for the fact that you are getting the money early. It is sort of like paying a fee to get the money faster.
In a commuted award, you do not give up your right to medical benefits if you need them, but you must have already won your workers’ compensation case to obtain a commuted award. That is, either the insurance company is not disputing that it owes you benefits, or you have already won your claim at a workers’ compensation hearing.
You must apply for a commutation. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with this process.
Whether you are considering a settlement or a commutation, advice from a highly experienced PA workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable. Call our office at 877-299-0770 for more information.