Workers' Compensation Agreements: Lump Sum Vs. Structured

When it comes to workers' compensation, injured workers may have the option to receive their benefits in the form of a lump sum payment or a structured settlement. Below is a discussion of the two options: 

Lump Sum Payments

A lump sum payment is a one-time, upfront payment that represents the total value of the workers' compensation benefits owed to the injured worker. Here are some key points about lump sum payments:

Immediate access to funds: With a lump sum payment, the injured worker receives the full amount of the settlement immediately, providing immediate access to the funds. This can be advantageous if the worker needs a substantial amount of money up front to cover medical expenses or other financial obligations.

Flexibility: Lump sum payments provide flexibility in how the injured worker can use the funds. They have control over the money and can allocate it based on their current needs and priorities.

Potential disadvantages: While a lump sum payment offers immediate access to funds, there are potential downsides. If the settlement is not properly managed, the injured worker may run out of funds prematurely. Additionally, the lump sum amount may be subject to taxation, and it may affect eligibility for certain government benefits or financial assistance programs.

Structured Settlements

A structured settlement involves the injured worker receiving their workers' compensation benefits in a series of periodic payments over a specified period. Here are some key points about structured settlements:

Regular, predictable income: Structured settlements provide a reliable source of income as the injured worker receives periodic payments over time. This can be particularly helpful in managing ongoing medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and everyday living expenses.

Reduced risk: With a structured settlement, the injured worker avoids the risk of mismanaging or depleting the settlement funds too quickly. Regular payments ensure a steady income stream, which can provide long-term financial stability.

Lack of flexibility: The main drawback of a structured settlement is the lack of flexibility compared to a lump sum payment. Once the structure is established, it can be challenging to modify the payment schedule or access a large sum of money if unexpected financial needs arise.

Consult with a workers' compensation lawyer to understand the implications of both options and determine which approach is most suitable for the injured worker's specific situation. Considerations such as medical needs, ongoing care expenses, financial goals, and individual circumstances should be taken into account when deciding between a lump sum payment or a structured settlement.