If you have applied for workers’ compensation in Virginia, one of the things you may have seen come up in your claim is the option to “settle” your case and receive a “lump sum.” This means that, instead of pursuing ongoing payments, you would end your case now and receive a one-time payment covering the benefits up front. Many may jump at the opportunity to receive money now, but the decision to take a workers’ comp. settlement may not always be the right move in your case.
As tempting as that may sound, you should never accept such an offer without carefully considering it and without consulting with a lawyer first. Once you accept a lump sum settlement, you will never be eligible to claim additional wage loss or medical benefits for your injury. Lump sum settlements are particularly dangerous for people who suffer injuries that might require expensive long-term medical care.
It is important to fully evaluate the long-term cost of your injury, both in terms of how much it would cost you if you had no outside income or medical insurance to cover you in the future, and in how much it would cost the workers’ compensation insurance company over your lifetime if you refused to settle. Further, although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as, “Obamacare”) requires health insurance companies to cover “pre-existing conditions” most health insurance plans specifically exclude coverage for “work-related injuries” and may not cover your medical treatment in the future, even after settlement of your workers’ compensation case. Workers’ comp is a system which provides compensation for medical bills, lost wages and possible vocational training to employees who have suffered a work-related injury or illness.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies are often looking to minimize costs. This means they would rather work with a low-end prediction than a prediction that pays you too much for your medical treatment costs. This means that settlements are often lower than the maximum amount an insurance company may pay if you hold them to on-going coverage. Accepting a low offer may mean ultimately mean paying out of pocket for treatment, but it also guarantees that you have the money as soon as possible. It is important to discuss your case with an attorney to see if a lump sum will cover your full needs.
We’re Your Work Comp Experts
Workers’ compensation claims can be extremely complex and difficult to navigate alone. As state-mandated, no-fault insurance, workers’ comp entitles you to certain benefits whether you or your employer caused the accident that harmed you. While you do not need to establish fault in order to claim these benefits, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to look out for your best interests. Your employer and the insurance company want to settle your claim as quickly as possible. At Kalfus & Nachman, we know how insurance companies try to avoid paying accident victims. Our experienced Virginia worker’s comp attorneys can help you fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.