Can I Get a Lump Sum Workers’ Comp Settlement in Florida?
Gregg Hollander | October 28, 2020 | Workers’ Compensation
Every company in Florida that has four or more employees (even regular part-time employees and owners) is required by law to pay into a workers’ compensation insurance policy. This policy ensures that workers are covered in the event an injury they suffer while at work results in medical costs or loss of income.
If you are injured on the job, you should report your injuries to your employer within 30 days. However, because the rules and regulations governing workers’ compensation can be quite complex, it might also be a good idea to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney as well. An attorney can be an invaluable resource as they can inform you of your rights and even represent you should your case be challenged.
One question you will have to consider as you navigate your claim is whether or not it makes sense in your case to get a lump sum settlement. While it can often be helpful to receive a lump sum, there might be a few things you want to consider before requesting to do so.
Workers’ Compensation Lump Sums in Florida
If you’ve been diagnosed with a permanent and total disability, you might be eligible to receive an advance on future workers’ compensation benefits in the form of a lump sum. It is important, however, that you consult with your lawyer before you do so as opting for a lump sum will almost certainly bar you from further compensation should your injuries worsen.
Things to Consider Before Requesting a Lump Sum Workers’ Compensation Settlement
In many cases, the agreement that allows for a lump sum will call the settlement to be full and final. This means that you’ll be unable to recover additional compensation above and beyond the amount you receive in the lump sum.
So, there are many things that you should take into consideration before accepting a lump sum settlement:
- Have you reached maximum medical improvement (MMI)?
- Is a doctor confident that your injuries won’t worsen?
- Will the amount of your lump sum settlement be enough to fully compensate you for your injuries?
- Are you compromising the value of your claim in exchange for cash now?
- Will you be required to resign from your job as a condition of receiving your lump sum payout?
On the other hand, taking a lump sum settlement will free you up to make your own decisions about your medical care. That’s because your employer will no longer have a say about what doctors you can see and what kinds of treatments you can receive.
Getting a lump sum payment ends your claim, so you walk away with a check and the freedom to decide how you treat your workplace injury. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll bear the costs of treatment now, too.
Finalizing Your Lump Sum Agreement
Before your lump sum agreement is finalized and you receive your money, the settlement needs to be approved by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). To accurately assess your case the board may request a number of documents from you.
These documents might include:
- Your medical records
- A copy of the settlement agreement
- Copies of the claims forms you and your lawyer have filed
The board will also want to take a look at the fee agreement you have worked out with your lawyer. All fee agreements need to be approved by the board and will only be accepted under certain conditions. For example, the percentage of the settlement an attorney is able to receive is capped at 25 percent.
What You Should Do If You Have Been Injured on the Job
After a construction accident or suffering any workplace injury, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention as soon as possible. When you do so, keep detailed records of all bills related to your care and recovery.
You should also talk to a qualified attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation matters immediately. An attorney will make sure you inform your employer and file your claim on time. It is also crucial to have the representation of a competent lawyer should any surprises come up at any point in your case.
Your lawyer will assist you in filing all claims, putting together your case to present before the SBWC if necessary, and advise you on if and when it might be a good idea to consider a lump sum settlement.