Have you settled a workplace injury case for weekly workers’ compensation benefits that have lasted for six months or more and are supposed to continue? If so, you may want to consider filing for a lump-sum payment that will end your employers’ involvement – and the insurance company’s – in your injury claim.
The knowledgeable Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys at Gemma Law Associates can help you determine whether a lump-sum settlement is right for you. With more than 40 years of experience helping people who have been hurt on the job, our workplace injury lawyers can:
- Review the details of your claim and assess the costs you can expect to face in the future as a result of your injury
- File for a commutation of your workers’ comp benefit, also known as a lump-sum settlement. Under a commutation, the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court may approve a lump-sum payment or structured-type periodic payments in exchange for ending your claim.
- Work to resolve a disputed claim with a “denial and dismissal” lump-sum settlement. This may save you from the stress and uncertainty of the complicated workers’ comp claims process.
There are pros and cons to obtaining lump-sum workers’ compensation payments under Rhode Island’s system, so it is important to have an experienced attorney review your case and explain all your options. Schedule a free consultation with our team today to learn how we may be able to help you put this chapter of your life behind you.
What You Need to Know About Lump-Sum Workers’ Compensation Payments
Everyone’s case is different. Our attorneys’ goal is to help you determine whether a lump-sum workers’ compensation settlement makes sense for you financially. There are many factors to consider in making such a decision. For example:
- A commutation settlement — a lump-sum, case-closing payment — ends the financial uncertainty and stress of not knowing how long the routine of workers’ comp payments will continue.
- It allows you to budget for life going forward based on the settlement amount, rather than worrying about submitting medical bills to the insurance company as they arise and getting a check every couple of weeks for your medical costs plus a portion of your lost wages.
- A denial and dismissal settlement may put an end to a potentially lengthy and worrisome fight for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Obtaining a lump-sum settlement may be beneficial if you have a specific need or plan for the money.
- A lump-sum settlement frees you to take your medical care into your own hands and no longer be required to see a doctor who has been appointed for you.
- An injured worker of advanced age, who has no plans to return to work regardless of recovery or ability, might prefer a lump-sum workers’ comp settlement.
- A lump-sum settlement also protects you if your employer or the insurance company is not financially stable and could go out of business during your ongoing claim.
- If you have a permanent disability, you may not want a lump-sum settlement. Total disability benefits continue for as long as the injured worker is totally disabled, even if that is for a lifetime. Partial disability benefits can last for as long as six years.
- You might also avoid a lump-sum payment if receiving a large settlement could cause a bigger financial problem than it settles. (If you do not budget your money well, you may be able to negotiate structured, or periodic, payments.)
- Once a lump-sum payment is ordered, your claim closes forever. This may be a relief to you, but it is also a relief to your employer and the insurance company to see payments to you end. Since you sign away all future right to benefits, you need to make sure a settlement is right for you.
All lump-sum settlements must be approved by a judge in the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, whether a denial and dismissal settlement or a commutation settlement. Lump-sum settlements must be paid within 14 days of approval.
At Gemma Law Associates, our knowledgeable lawyers can discuss all the factors you need to consider if you are interested in a lump-sum settlement of a workers’ compensation claim. This is not a decision to be made lightly, nor should it be made without advice from a professional who fully understands the Rhode Island workers’ compensation system.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your workers’ compensation claim.
How Do Denial and Dismissal Settlements Work?
Rhode Island allows injured workers and their employers to resolve disputed workers’ compensation claims with what’s known as a “denial and dismissal” settlement. This is a settlement outside of the workers’ compensation system, in which the employer (through the insurer) pays a settlement to the worker, essentially, make the case go away.
Either party might agree to this settlement if they fear the cost or outcome of litigating the claim.
A denial and dismissal settlement is final. If your medical condition gets worse later, your employer has no responsibility to you. In most cases, an employer will insist that you resign from your job as part of the settlement agreement, as well.
As with a commutation settlement, the agreed-to payment will be made in a lump sum, but you may also negotiate a structured payment, particularly for a large settlement amount.
Do not agree to any workers’ compensation settlement without consulting an experienced attorney.
What Will the Court Consider in a Lump-Sum Workers’ Comp Payment?
Since a lump-sum settlement to a workers’ compensation claim is an agreement, all parties must be onboard for it to happen. This includes your employer, the insurance company, and the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court.
To approve a settlement, the judge must determine that it is in the best interests of all parties. For a commutation settlement, the court will also consider:
- Whether all medical bills related to the injury have been paid so far.
- Whether the settlement addresses the future medical needs of the injured worker.
- How the settlement may affect the employer’s future workers’ comp insurance premium. It must be stated for the record that the insurer has told the employer of any effect, and the employer may object to the settlement.
Further, the court will not approve a settlement if the Rhode Island Temporary Disability Insurance fund and/or the Office of Rehabilitation Services has a claim for payments due to service provided to you — unless such payment(s) are to come from the settlement. Also, child support payments you may owe can be deducted from a settlement for more than $3,000.
Contact Our RI Workers’ Compensation Lawyers About a Lump-Sum Payment
After a serious on-the-job injury, the workers’ compensation benefits you receive could represent the bulk of your future income. It is crucial to have thoughtful and reasoned counsel before settling any significant workers’ compensation claim.
At Gemma Law Associates, our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys stand up for injured workers across Rhode Island. We work with injured people in Providence, Pawtucket, Warwick, Newport, Cranston, Bristol, Woonsocket, and surrounding areas. We also help out-of-state workers who were injured at job sites in Rhode Island.
Schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case today to determine whether you may benefit from settling your claim with a lump-sum payment.