Lump Sum Settlements
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, some workers’ compensation benefits are paid in the form of a lump sum settlement. The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) allows for an injured worker to enter into a contract between themselves and the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company that provides for a lump sum settlement in lieu of weekly compensation checks.
This means that you will receive a single check for the total amount of your workers’ compensation claims and may not be entitled to other benefits, depending on the terms of the agreement.
There are a variety of reasons for entering into a lump sum settlement for both employer and employees. From the employee’s prospective, it means money fast. It will generally be a far greater amount than an employee would receive each week, but less than the total amount of money than would be received when all weekly benefits checks are totaled.
In deciding whether or not take a lump sum settlement, the DIA strongly recommends you seek legal advice to assist you in determining whether the agreement is your best interest, and so you are fully aware of all rights you may be giving up by entering into the agreement.
At the Law Office of Jeffery S. Glassman, LCC, our workers’ compensation attorneys in Massachusetts can explain that there are situations where a lump sum settlement is in your best interest, and some situations where it is not. Regardless of what the ultimate decision is in your particular case, having someone on your side who regularly handles these types of matters will give you peace of mind, knowing that you are making the right decision after being apprised of all relevant facts.
One issue that often complicates the decision is whether you will continue to need Vocational Rehabilitation Services paid by your employer after accepting the lump sum settlement. Under Massachusetts’s workers’ compensation law, a lump sum settlement will not be approved by an administrative law judge (ALJ) if the worker is currently receiving Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) unless one of the following conditions are met:
- You have completed the approved vocational rehabilitation program.
- You have returned to work at least six months.
- You have received express written consent from Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (OEVR).
- An ALJ enters an override to these requirements after a hearing.
Keep in mind when entering into a lump sum settlement, your workers’ compensation case is closed and replaces any future compensation for that particular injury or illness. While your attorney can discuss the facts of your situation, some factors to consider when deciding to enter into a lump sum settlement are if you are able to return to work, whether you will be able to prove your injury or illness is work-related, your current income, your current bills and expenses, and any third party claims you have related to the injury or illness.
It is also important to note under Massachusetts law, an employer cannot tell an injured worker that by signing a lump sum settlement agreement for his or her workers’ compensation claims, that employee will no longer be able to return to his or her old job.
At our law firm, we will thoroughly review your case and aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Law offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
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