If you have been injured while on the job, you may have a variety of options when it comes to seeking compensation. Many employees are unfamiliar with the forms of benefits that may be collected, such as lump sum payments. These are an alternative to benefit payment installments, but they may not be appropriate in every situation. Brockton workers’ compensation attorney Robert C. Shea has helped many injured Massachusetts employees determine whether installments or a lump sum would be better suited to their specific situation.
Considering a Lump Sum Settlement After a Job Accident
The workers’ compensation benefits system is designed to ensure that an injured employee receives monetary support in the event that they suffer an injury during the course and scope of their employment. Although there are some straightforward situations in which a worker obviously qualifies for benefits, such as after being struck by a falling object on scaffolding, employees who suffer more subtle forms of harm may qualify as well. An example might be a condition that results from performing repetitive work over a long period of time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The first thing that an injured employee should do is notify their employer of the injury so that the employer can file a claim with its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. At that juncture, the insurer will begin an investigation, which involves a medical examination to determine the nature and extent of the employee’s injury.
Once the insurance company determines whether the employee’s injury is partial or total and whether it is temporary or permanent, the insurer will then declare a benefit payment amount and duration. The benefit payments are also designed to compensate the injured worker for expenses associated with the injury, including lost wages, medical expenses, and medications. A lump sum settlement is available in some instances and may be awarded in lieu of weekly benefit payments. If an employee chooses the lump sum option, they will be barred from seeking additional benefits in the future related to that injury. However, if the employee suffers another injury that is distinct from the injury for which the insurer issued the lump sum settlement, they will still be eligible to pursue benefits for the new injury.
To protect employees, Massachusetts has enacted some requirements for what a lump sum settlement agreement may or may not include. For example, the agreement may not prevent the employee from returning to work or from bringing a breach of contract or wrongful termination claims against the employer.
Consult a Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Brockton
Knowing whether you should pursue a lump sum settlement or accept weekly benefit payments may be a difficult decision to make, especially when you are coping with painful injuries and other challenges. Brockton workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C. can walk you through each step of the process and ensure that you understand your rights and options. Serving clients throughout Plymouth, Norfolk, and Bristol Counties, including Brockton, North Easton, South Easton, and Stoughton, he offers a free consultation to help you get started. Call us at 508-506-5681 or contact us online to set up an appointment with a work injury attorney.