The foundation of workers’ compensation benefits is making certain that the injured worker is able to stay financially afloat while they recover. By providing medical treatments at no cost to them and possibly giving wage replacement benefits for disabling injuries, workers’ comp keeps pockets full until the worker can return to work or regain some form of steady income.
If you have filed for workers’ compensation, then you’re probably wondering how and when you will see your financial benefits. Will you see everything show up in a lump-sum payment? Or should you expect periodic payments? The answer depends on how your claim has been handled.
Periodic Payments for Approved Claims
Was your workers’ compensation claim approved? First of all, congratulations. Many claims face first-round denials by dishonest insurance companies trying to save a dollar. Second of all, you won’t automatically get wage replacement benefits. You need to miss a certain amount of time before you can start getting lost wages through workers’ comp. Here in California, and many other states, you must miss at least three calendar days due to your injury before temporary disability benefits begin.
If you are receiving temporary disability benefits, then you can expect to be provided two-thirds of your average weekly wages. Such payments will show up each week, and they end when you return to work in some capacity. You could still experience symptoms of your work injury and not receive any more wage replacement benefits if you start to earn a paycheck once again for any reason, such as completing light-duty or sedentary tasks.
How Do You Get a Lump-Sum Settlement?
As mentioned, many workers’ compensation cases don’t go very smoothly for the injured worker. Instead, the insurance company will look for ways to deny or undervalue the claim, leaving the worker with unpaid bills and lost wages. When this happens, legal intervention becomes necessary. A settlement could be reached through negotiations or an administrative hearing before a judge could be arranged to reach a conclusion.
In most cases, settlements are preferred, which is where lump-sum settlements come into the picture. The insurance company can offer a lump-sum for all outstanding medical costs, wage replacement benefits, and any other miscellaneous benefits. Lump-sums are paid all at once, and, to receive it, you might have to sign an agreement that states you will not look for additional damages in the future for the same reason, i.e., related to your work injury.
To retain the right to sue for new, unexpected damages in the future, you might be more interested in a structured payment plan. Using this system, you will receive compensation from the insurance company at regular intervals, typically once a month until the agreed-upon amount is reached. Some workers’ comp claimants prefer to have structured settlements for medical costs placed into a separate account or trust that they cannot access except to pay for those medical treatments. This extra step ensures that the right amount of money will be there when it is needed.
Should You Ask for a Lump-Sum Settlement?
Would you be better off getting a lump-sum settlement or a structured settlement through your workers’ compensation claim? Although the end results should be the same, there are some nuances to both payment types that you might want to take into consideration. To get the information you need to make the right decision for you, team up with a local workers’ compensation attorney for assistance.
In Orange County, California, you can turn to Alvandi Law Group, P.C. and our workers’ compensation attorneys. We have focused 100% of our law firm on workers’ comp claims of all sorts, so we are never distracted or out-of-practice. Discover what dedicated legal professionals like us can do for your case by filling out an online contact form now.