Lump Sum Settlements
If you were injured on the job, you may have heard of something called a "Lump Sum Settlement" – also known as a "Compromise and Release."
Note: Please know that when you sign to accept a lump sum settlement, this is a one-time payment. If you accept a lump sum, you can't go back for more money. Your employer's insurance company doesn't owe you another cent. What's more, the insurance company will almost always offer much less than you deserve.
That's why it's important to consult with an attorney before you agree to a lump sum settlement. Our legal consultations are free and there's no obligation to use our services. Call us at 412-394-1000 or fill out a simple online legal consultation.
If your employer posts a list of company doctors at your place of work, you must see one of these doctors during the first 90 days of treatment. If you don't use a company doctor for the first 90 days, workers' compensation doesn't have to pay your medical bills.
Ninety days after seeing a company doctor for the first time, you may choose your own doctor. You need to tell the workers' compensation insurance company who your new doctor is within 5 days to make sure that your doctor gets paid. But, your employer may request that you still see one of their company doctors once every 6 months.
You can also refuse to allow a representative of the workers' compensation insurance company to be present during examinations with your doctor.
If your company does not have a panel of doctors posted, you may see your own doctor from the very start of your treatment.
What is a Lump Sum Settlement?
Under Pennsylvania worker's compensation, if you have been off work for more than 4 months due to a work-related injury – and you're currently receiving workers' compensation – you may be able to settle with the insurance company for a lump sum.
A lump sum settlement is a one-time payment that can replace your weekly workers' compensation checks, your medical bills, or both. You can accept a lump sum settlement for both your lost wages and medical expenses. However, a lump sum settlement amount cannot be more than your weekly workers' compensation benefits mutiplied by 500 weeks.
Accepting a lump sum settlement for your medical expenses can be tricky. If you accept a lump sum payment for your future medical care, you will not receive any more money for your medical treatment after these funds are spent.
Remember: If you agree to a lump sum settlement, you won't receive another penny from Pennsylvania workers' compensation. Before agreeing to a lump sum settlement, it's important to make sure that the offer is fair and that it's a good idea for you. You should hire an experienced attorney to help negotiate with the insurance company, because the insurance company will nearly always offer much less than you should receive.
Is a Lump Sum Settlement Right For You?
You may want to settle for a lump sum of money if:
- You have stopped making progress in your recovery – and your doctor believes you will not continue to recover
- You are tired of the workers' compensation hassle and want to move on with your life
If you're thinking about a lump sum settlement, you should take a good look at your medical costs and what they may be in the future.
- Will you need another surgery?
- Will you be unable to work for years to come?
- Will the settlement be enough money to give you financial security?
- Are your injuries likely to get worse or lead to other conditions, such as arthritis?
- Is it worth more than the hassle of dealing with the insurance company?
Be sure to think about these questions, and consult an attorney to see if a lump sum settlement is in your best interest. An experienced attorney can best calculate possible medical expenses you may encounter down the road.