Normally, Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits are paid in weekly or bi-weekly payments during the period that you are disabled and unable to work. Pennsylvania law allows injured workers the option of receiving a lump sum payment for their future wage and medical benefits.
In order to qualify for a lump sum payment, you must have been unable to work for at least four (4) months due to the work injury and you must be currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
A lump sum payment covers both your wage loss and medical benefits. Once you have accepted a lump sum payment, you will not receive any further compensation from the insurance company. Even if your condition later worsens or you require further treatment or even surgery, you would be responsible for future medical benefits. However, some settlements for a lump sum may be negotiated such that the carrier keeps your medical benefits open for a set period of time. Normally insurance companies do not want to keep paying for your medical benefits after the settlement occurs. It is actually rare that the insurance company will agree to keep paying medical benefits for a set period of time after the settlement takes place.
Should I Accept A Lump Sum Payment?
Generally, when you accept a lump sum payment for your wage loss and medical benefits, you will no longer receive weekly or bi-weekly checks from the insurance company and the insurance company has no further obligation to pay for medical expenses related to your work injury. This is true even if your conditions worsens and you need further treatment or even surgery. You will alone be responsible for any future medical expenses. Things to consider when deciding whether to accept a lump sum payment are:
- How long will you likely be unable to work?
- Has your physician told you that your work injury has caused a permanent disability preventing you from returning to your pre-injury job?
- Would you be able to obtain another job within your physical restrictions?
- Will the settlement proceeds provide enough financial security until you can return to work?
- Will you need additional medical treatment or even surgery?
Do I Need A Lawyer To Settle My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Yes, you should obtain an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you decide whether a lump sum settlement is best for you and, if so, to negotiate the settlement with the insurance carrier. If you try to negotiate your own and do not have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side, you will almost definitely receive much less money for your lump sum settlement.
You should contact Cynthia O’Donnell at the Patberg Law Firm if you are considering a lump sum settlement of your work injury or if the carrier has approached you to settle your workers’ compensation benefits. Attorney O’Donnell has years of experience in representing workers’ compensation carriers as well as years of experience representing the injured worker. She knows how insurance carriers determine the value of your lump sum settlement and this experience works in your favor in negotiating a lump sum payment. Attorney O’Donnell can be reached at (412) 232-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation is always free and you have nothing to lose.