If you have been permanently disabled because of a workplace accident or illness, you may be offered a settlement. The workers' compensation insurer for your employer may offer you a lot less than you deserve and that can be troubling to many victims. To make matter worse, though, what you end up getting paid may be reduced by certain expenses. To find out more, read on.
Understanding Settlement Offers
You don't have to accept what the insurer offers. Settlements are negotiable. If you disagree with any aspect of your worker's comp claim, speak to a workers' comp lawyer. They understand your rights, what you are entitled to be paid, and how to negotiate with the insurer to get you what you need.
Know that not only is the lump-sum amount negotiable but so are the terms and what is included. Speak to your lawyer about structured settlements, sparing income from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) determinations, career rehabilitation, suitable jobs, and more.
Deductions to Expect
- Unemployment – If you earned any unemployment payments during a disputed claim period, you may have to pay those funds back from your settlement.
- Income taxes – In most cases, no income taxes are due on workers' comp benefits with one exception. If you suffered from delays caused by the insurer's reluctance to pay you what you are owed, interest on the payments could accrue and be paid to you with the settlement. That interest could be taxable so speak with a tax expert to find out more.
- Liens – If you expect to obtain workers' comp coverage for medical expenses, some medical facilities suspend billing you but will place liens on your settlement. That means they can take some of the settlement to pay any unpaid medical bills. Along those same lines, Medicare and Medicaid have the right to collect funds from your settlement if you used the benefits while awaiting coverage.
- Legal fees – Most workers' comp lawyers use a contingency fee agreement to charge legal fees. Once the settlement is agreed on, the funds to pay your lawyer come from the settlement.
- Child support arrears – Being out of work and injured makes it difficult to pay child support. However, child support enforcement agencies have the right to seize funds from a workers' comp settlement to pay back child support.
Hurt workers need to know about any deductions from their settlement before they agree on the sum. To find out more, speak to a workers' compensation lawyer.