Employers like lump sum payments in Workers’ Compensation cases because it means less administrative paperwork and often employees will accept less money in a settlement than they would get if the payments were paid in the form of long-term weekly installments. Employers often try to pressure employees by arguing that you can get a better rate of return if you handle the money on your own, that you don’t have to worry about the employer seeking a termination of benefits because you return to work sooner, and you get to make larger purchases such as for a house or car if you take a lump sum settlement. Furthermore, if you qualify for social security disability, you can arrange it so that you can receive your disability checks from Social Security at a slightly lower rate and still receive your workers compensation settlement.
All of those things are true, but sometimes, there may be reasons not to take a lump-sum settlement. With the weekly payments you’re forced to stick to a budget. Once you spend the lump sum, it is gone and if you cannot work, and you do not qualify for SSDI what will you do for income then? A lump-sum deal, typically referred to in North Carolina as a “clincher,” would also mean a loss of any future medical benefits. If medical complications develop, or you require a future surgery, you won’t be able to go back and ask that the medical bills be paid by the employer or the employer’s insurance company. And further, if those future procedures were predicted by your doctors prior to settlement, Medicare will not cover them.
North Carolina allows for lump sum settlements in many cases and we have assisted many of our clients in obtaining such settlements. Some of our clients use the settlement money as a bridge to obtain re-training for work within their medical restrictions, while others utilize it as a bridge to remain financially secure until retirement. Whatever the arrangements, any such settlement requires the approval of the NC Industrial Commission.
Joe Miller explains the North Carolina and Virginia Workers’ Compensation Laws and knows how to evaluate the many complicated factors that determine if any offered settlement is in your best interests or not. In fact, he’s written a book on it. Feel free to download call for a copy of his FREE book The North Carolina Workers Compensation Guide to Settlements. He knows employers and insurance companies don’t always have your best interests at heart. He’ll explain the pros and cons of lump sum settlements and advise you whether a ‘clincher’ is right for you. To learn more, contact Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., by calling (888) 694-1671.