What is a Fair Workers’ Comp Settlement?
August 24, 2021
Understand The Components of a Fair Workers’ Comp Settlement From Our Workers’ Comp Attorney in Philadelphia
Under Pennsylvania law, individuals suffering from work-related injuries or illness may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are part of a “no-fault” system, meaning a claimant does not have to establish liability or fault to collect benefits. Instead, injured workers submit a claim under their employer’s WC insurance policy. Payments are made for two-thirds of weekly wages, related medical expenses, and sometimes other benefits related to your employability and disability. These benefits are usually paid periodically, but there could become a time when an injured worker is offered a workers’ comp settlement. One of the most common questions our workers’ comp lawyer in Philadelphia is asked is whether an injured worker should take a lump-sum settlement and if it is a fair settlement.
In order to decide whether to take the settlement, it is essential to understand whether the WC settlement is fair. Unfortunately, knowing whether a settlement offer is fair or not depends on a case-by-case basis. This is because each case has unique facts, including the extent of the injuries, disability, and ability to work. Other factors such as age, income, and ongoing medical bills could also play an important role in deciding whether a WC settlement is fair.
Common Factors to Consider When Evaluating Whether a Workers’ Comp Settlement is Fair
Our work injury lawyer knows that there are certain factors that all injured workers should consider before accepting or rejecting a workers’ comp settlement. Some of the most important factors to be considered are the following:
Have You Reached Your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
If you have reached your MMI, meaning that your condition will not improve with further treatment or time to recover, you may decide that a settlement offer is fair. This is because most unknowns like future treatment, ability to work, or future surgery are already known to you and your family. As a result, you can usually make a better, more informed decision on whether the lump-sum settlement is fair.
Do You Need Future Surgery?
A huge consideration to not accept a lump-sum settlement is if you may need future surgery. This is because a settlement now will not pay for a future surgery that you know about—or one that you do not know about—unless you earmark and save money for it. It is incredibly hard, if not impossible, to re-open a settlement to seek additional money for a surgery.
Are You Good With Money?
A lump-sum settlement could be a massive amount of money for an injured worker and his or her family. Individuals who are good at saving, investing money, and preparing for their future may want to accept a lump-sum settlement if they can effectively pay off debts or grow the money through investing.
But the inverse is true if a worker is a poor manager of money or has other individuals in his or her life who may try to take the lump-sum settlement for their own purposes. Individuals who are historically bad at managing money should be careful in accepting lump-sum settlements.
Accepting a lump-sum settlement to resolve all your present and future medical needs may seem fair until you take into consideration the immediate tax hit you are likely to face. Determining whether a lump-sum settlement will push you into a higher tax bracket or create other serious tax implications is something that a family must consider.
Risks of Going Forward With Your Claim
You may find that a fair WC settlement is one that you can take now without risking what could happen at a hearing or appeal. Our workers’ compensation attorneys know that sometimes, even with the best claim, a judge or medical expert may not agree with your arguments, injuries, or claim. Oftentimes this can be resolved fairly on an appeal or by employing experts to dispute the claims. However, this too comes at both a cost and a risk that it may not work. Unfortunately, some claims may not be worth as much as you may think at first glance and it could be risky to proceed. A fair WC settlement could mean collecting compensation now to minimize future risk.
Unsure Whether Your Workers’ Comp Settlement Offer is Fair? Learn How We Can Help You
Larry Pitt and Associates have over 40 years of experience helping injured workers evaluate or obtain a fair workers’ comp settlement. If you are unsure whether the offer you have been presented with is a fair workers’ comp settlement, ask our workers’ compensation attorneys in Pennsylvania for a FREE case evaluation to learn how we can help you and your family by dialing (888)-PITT-LAW or (877) 748-8529 to schedule your FREE consultation. You may also send us a message on our easy-to-use contact us box available here.