Hiring a Family Law Attorney When Adopting a Child

Pros & Cons of Workers' Compensation Settlements

by Jamie Nichols

Workers compensation laws vary by state, and the laws are very complicated, so it's often best to hire a workers comp lawyer. The lawyer can help you figure out just what type of compensation you're due and how to go about getting a fair amount. Some people prefer to get a lump sum settlement instead of weekly or monthly payments, but this may not be best for everyone. As you are looking for a lawyer, consider the pros and cons of getting workers comp.

The Pros

1. You get all of the money at once, and you don't need to worry about whether something will change in the future that would cause a problem with your workers comp payments, such as the company going out of business.

2. In some cases you may wind up with more money through a settlement, as it typically involves an estimated amount for future medical bills which may be more than you actually need.

3. A settlement simplifies the process, so you don't have to keep continually going to the company to get them to reimburse medical bills or make other related payments. This makes things easier for both you and the company.

The Cons

1. In many states if you settle for a lump sum, you can't go back to get more money for future medical bills, such as a surgery you didn't know you'd need when you made the settlement. You're responsible for covering these bills, which could mean you get less money than you would have if you didn't settle.

During the settlement process, you estimate what you need for future medical costs, and the final settlement could include just 25 percent of this amount, although you may want to start negotiations at about 75 percent.

2. If the settlement isn't worded in just the right way, it could reduce your potential social security benefits in the future. Make sure you get an attorney to help with this so you don't wind up with less than you deserve later on.

Other Considerations

Make sure that you're clear on whether the settlement amount includes money you've already received or whether it is all new money to be paid to you before signing the agreement, otherwise you could be in for a nasty surprise and not get as much as you were expecting.

Also check to see whether the settlement allows for you to make future medical claims for treatments not included in the original settlement or whether it is closed, meaning that is all you get ever.