As is a common theme when discussing workers’ compensation in Minnesota, no two cases are the same, and the system can be challenging and complex. Clients often ask about the types of settlements they may be able to receive, and again there is no one-size-fits-all answer, because there are a lot of factors at play. We’re going to try and break it all down in today’s blog.
As the name implies, this is a settlement that compensates the injured party for issues up to the date listed in the agreement. For example, if you can provide proof of medical costs and your lawyer can calculate your wage loss benefits, the insurance company may be willing to agree to a to-date settlement which settles any past issues but leaves you open to more compensation or another settlement in the future. Once agreed upon, all disputed issues are considered settled, but the claimant is not forfeiting the ability to seek a future settlement for anything after the agreed upon date.
Full, Final and Complete, with Future Medical Claims Open
This is one of the more common settlement types in the work comp world. This type of settlement involves a disagreement with the insurance company over an issue like denying part of a claim or discontinuing a benefit. This settlement means that for the agreed upon lump sum of money, you terminate your ability to seek claims for any type of work comp benefits relating to this injury, except for any future medical coverage or medical treatment.
Full, Final and Complete with Some Future Claims Open and Some Closed
This is exactly the same as the above settlement, only in this type, the parties will come to a more specific agreement about future medical costs. Generally this involves language to stop passive treatment at a certain date, but active treatment, like physical therapy or rehabilitation services won’t usually be touched. For example, if you’re receiving massage therapy for back pain, the insurance company may agree to pay a higher sum in order to stop these treatments which aren’t aimed at providing you with long-term benefits.
Full, Final and Complete with All Future Medical Claims Closed
Now that you’ve read the above two points, it’s probably pretty easy to decipher what this settlement means. In this type of settlement, the insurer will pay a lump sum of money, and in return you can’t seek any future expenses from them pertaining to this specific injury. Insurers also typically deny any responsibility in these types of settlements. These are rare, however, because it’s impossible to predict if certain injuries will need medical care down the road.
A structured settlement is the opposite of a lump sum settlement. Imagine you’re a 23-year-old factory worker who loses his hand in a work accident because of a liability oversight by your employer. The numbers are crunched and the parties agree on a $1 million settlement, but instead of getting it all at once, the insurer agrees to pay the claimant $50,000 a year for the next 20 years. These settlements are typically aimed at younger workers facing a large payout, as it can help them financially plan for their future and avoid the potential pitfalls of receiving a windfall at a young age.