Many individuals who suffer a long-term work injury prefer to get a lump sum settlement instead of semi-monthly payments over the course of a few years. A lump sum payment can be a nice way to simplify your workers’ compensation claim, but there are a number of factors that influence the settlement number you should push for. An attorney understands how all these factors influence the total value of your claim, so if there’s one piece of advice we can pass along, it’s that you always hire a workers’ compensation attorney to help negotiate your settlement. Here are eight factors that your attorney accounts for when writing up a lump sum settlement offer.
Past Lost Wages
The first factor a lawyer will consider when writing up a settlement offer is the amount of previously lost wages. No matter how long you’ve been out of work with your injury, you’ve missed out on some income. Those lost wages are one of the easiest parts of the settlement offer to calculate.
Future Lost Wages
Once past wages are accounted for, an attorney will then factor in the potential future loss in income due to the work injury. This is a little more difficult to calculate, because an attorney has to account for future medical improvement, how much longer an employee is eligible to receive wage loss benefits, and when an employee may be expected to return to work.
Permanent Partial Disability
If the work injury results in a permanent disability, this will factor into the total potential lump sum an employee is entitled to receive.
Personal Out Of Pocket Expenses
Another factor that impacts the potential lump sum workers’ compensation payment is the amount of coverable expenses the employee has undertaken to care for themselves post injury. Things like out of pocket medical coverage, gas mileage to and from the clinic, and health supplies to care for the injury can all be factored into the lump settlement offer.
Although an injured worker doesn’t technically receive money for rehabilitation benefits, it is something that has a monetary value to the insurance company since they would be paying for this benefit if the employee received a standard claim agreement. If you are a candidate for retraining or rehabilitation, this will be factored into your total settlement offer.
Reimbursement of Third Party Payers
In the event that a third party payer like your private health insurance covered some of the medical expenses of your work injury, a normal settlement offer will ask that the workers’ compensation insurer cover any medical costs that have already been paid by a third party.
Future Medical Expenses
If it’s reasonable to assume that the employee will incur expenses from future medical care, these too will need to be factored into the settlement offer.
The Strength Of Your Case
Lastly, the final factor that influences your settlement offer and potential payment is the strength and validity of your case. If you have a pretty open and shut case, the insurance company is more likely to accept your offer or counter with a pretty similar offer. However, if there are a bunch of questions or undeterminable factors in your case, it may significantly impact the counter offer you receive from the workers’ compensation insurer.