Workers’ comp benefits aren’t designed to last a lifetime. They are awarded to injured workers as a way to help them get better. However, in some cases, workers may be left with incoming medical needs that still need to be addressed.
In many cases, workers may be offered a choice when it comes to their benefits: a lump sum settlement, or to keep getting medical benefits as needed. How can you decide which one is better?
It Greatly Depends on Your Medical State
If the insurance company offers you a lump sum settlement, and you accept, it generally means your worker’s compensation case will be closed. When you agree to that final amount, you will likely sign a document and will no longer be able to receive any more medical benefits for your injury (unless a different injury arises later on, which will not be affected).
Lump sums have their pros and cons and deciding if you should take it or not generally depends on your medical state. If your condition isn’t fixed yet, meaning you haven’t reached full medical recovery, taking a lump sum may expose you to future medical expenses in the event your injury or illness gets worse.
Typically, the lump sum should also take into account future medical expenses as well, but for some workers, it can be very difficult to calculate how much money it would be required. For example, if you broke your leg, and it healed but you require physical therapy to get fully recovered, then you can negotiate the lump sum to include the costs of therapy, based on how much a session costs, how often you have to attend them, and for how long.
However, if you accept the lump sum, and the doctor later discovers that you need another surgery for your leg, the cost of the surgery will not be covered by any additional worker’s comp benefits. You can cover it though the money in your settlement.
You Don’t Have to Accept a Lump Sum
Insurance adjusters may make it seem like the sheer fact they are offering a settlement means you automatically have to accept it on the spot. They’ll use details from your files to argue that legally they are not required to offer benefits anymore, but want to give you a lump sum so that you are not left without anything.
This is not true. Even if your doctor clears you for light work, your medical state may require additional procedures, in which case it’s best to continue receiving benefits as opposed to a final settlement.
What Should You Do?
If your insurance company offers a lump sum settlement, don’t sign anything just yet. Make sure to speak with an experienced Kansas City workers compensation lawyer and have them look at your case. They can help you understand if a lump sum is the best option for you.
Give us a call today at (816) 399-3706 for a FREE Case Evaluation.