Many hurt workers are too badly injured to return to work. In most cases, that can mean a lump-sum settlement from the workers' compensation insurer. It's important to understand that what might sound like a great settlement should only be accepted once deductions and other costs are considered. To find out more, read below.
What Is a Settlement?
The workers' comp insurer offers certain hurt workers a lump-sum settlement. This offer may come after the worker has been hurt so badly in a work accident that they cannot go back to their job. Those suffering from work-related illnesses may also qualify for lump-sum payments from the insurer.
It's vital that those offered a workers' compensation settlement consult with a workers' compensation attorney before they sign anything, however. Settlements from workers' compensation insurers may be inadequate. Workers deserve to be paid enough to take the place of their jobs for the remainder of their working lives. The amount they are paid is entirely negotiable. Workers' compensation lawyers understand how much the hurt worker needs to survive without a job. They also know how to deal with the workers' compensation insurer.
The Settlement: Net and Gross
The gross is what you are offered and agree to accept. However, you may end up with less than you expected. The amount you are paid is known as the net amount. Be sure to take the below issues into consideration when deciding on a settlement.
Unpaid Medical Bills
Most settlements contain enough money to pay any medical bills that arrive later. However, it's vital to know the scope of unpaid bills. Medical costs can be extremely high, and knowing what to expect is vital. In some cases, medical facilities and practitioners have placed liens on your settlement. That means the bills have not been paid and the money owed is paid to them right away.
Your healthcare insurer may also have liens on your settlement. With a settlement, this insurer can take action and be reimbursed for the cost of care provided and paid by the insurer. Either of these issues can reduce your settlement net proceeds.
Many hurt workers file for unemployment while waiting for their workers' comp insurance to be approved. However, your state employment agency has the right to file for a return of those payments if you are paid a settlement.
Settlements and disability wages are not taxable. However, some cases involve an order that the insurer pays interest on unpaid benefits. In some cases, interest paid as part of a settlement may be taxable. Speak to a tax expert to find out more.
Learn more by speaking to a workers' compensation lawyer.