After a work-related injury or illness in New Jersey, most employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits. These benefits can cover losses from medical expenses, missed income due to time from work and other expenses for permanent disability. Especially in cases of severe or long-term injuries, the workers compensation insurance company may offer a lump sum settlement. In this blog post, learn more about the New Jersey workers compensation program and what to consider before agreeing to a lump sum settlement.
Workers Compensation Benefits in New Jersey
Workers’ compensation is intended to protect workers and provides several benefits to injured workers who have suffered from a work-related accident or an occupational disease, regardless of fault. Medical benefits, such as payment of hospital and medical bills, as well as the loss of income during any period in which an employee is disabled. These benefits may be temporary or permanent, depending on the injury, and may include a full benefit amount or a partial benefit amount. Injured workers are entitled to the following benefits, depending on their case:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Temporary Disability: You can get two-thirds of the wages of your average weekly amount, up to certain maximums, if your temporary disability claim is approved.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability which covers lost income for a longer period of time.
- Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
How Do Lump Sum Workers Comp Settlements Work?
After you file your workers compensation claim and your case works its way through the process, you may be offered a lump sum settlement by the insurance company. A lump sum workers compensation settlement is typically one large financial payment made to the injured worker to cover workers compensation benefits. A lump sum settlement is offered instead of a structured settlement, where the insurance company makes benefit payments on regular intervals.
In some cases, you may be offered a lump sum settlement for one set of benefits and a structured settlement for another. For example, the insurance company may offer a lump sum to cover all past and future medical expenses but structured payments for the lost income portion of benefits. Either way, it's important to know what to consider when offered a lump sum settlement.
Should You Accept a Lump Sum Settlement Offer?
More often than not, lump sum settlements benefit the insurance company more than they benefit the individual. While a large sum of money may be enticing, it’s important to consider all of your expenses and prognostic outlook before making a decision. Once you agree to a settlement offer, you cannot go back and re-open the claim even if something changes.
If you’ve been seriously injured or are dealing with a chronic illness, you may not know your medical prognosis for some time. In which case, you may not have an understanding of what the entirety of your medical expenses will be. If you accept the settlement offer, you can’t go back later for additional expenses that you weren’t expecting even if your diagnosis changes.
You may also need to consider how a workers compensation settlement could affect other programs, like Social Security Disability and Medicare. It's in your best interest to consult a workers compensation lawyer to discuss your options before agreeing to a settlement. They can also help you determine how much your claim may be worth and average workers compensation settlements.
Brandon J. Broderick, Workers Comp Lawyers in New York and New Jersey
We get it. Work accidents and illness can have an impact on your health, well-being, and finances which can cause worry, fear, and anxiety -- for you and your family. We have decades of experience championing for our clients and succeeding.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care, empathy, and results. That’s what makes us one of the top-rated workers compensation law firms in New Jersey and New York. We’ve helped people just like you move forward. Contact us today for a free consultation.