If you sustained an injury or developed an illness related to your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact Silverman, McDonald & Friedman today to set up a free consultation at one of our offices in Wilmington, Newark or Seaford.
Workers who have a permanent (total or partial) disability have the right to ask for a lump-sum settlement. A lump-sum settlement is a one-time payment that should cover all your future medical expenses and all your future income payments. A key benefit of a lump-sum benefit is that the workers control the funds immediately instead of having the payments paid over a period of months, years, or decades.
Workers shouldn’t consider a lump-sum settlement until they have reached maximum medical improvement – until it’s clear that additional medical treatments won’t improve their health or their ability to return to work. Maximum medical improvement doesn’t mean the worker won’t have future medical bills. Often, workers with a permanent disability need to treat with doctors and therapists for the rest of their lives just to help them live and to adjust to their physical or emotional difficulties. Most workers with a permanent injury will need medications, medical devices, and medical treatment to prevent their medical condition from getting worse or to extend the time they have to live.
Key considerations in lump sum settlements
An experienced Delaware workers’ compensation lawyer will work with the employee to:
- Document the employee’s future medical expenses. This includes surgeries, doctor visits, visits with therapists and counselors, prescription medications, prosthetics, and any reasonable medical costs.
- Calculate the employee’s wage benefits. These benefits are generally 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage for a period of years. Workers who have a permanent disability are also entitled to additional weeks of compensation based on their permanent disability. For example, a worker who can’t use a hand is entitled to 220 weeks compensation. The loss of a thumb entitles the worker to 75 weeks. Loss of hearing qualifies for 175 weeks.
- Calculate the present value. Delaware generally requires that the amount of the settlement be reduced by five percent. This reduction is based on the idea that the worker will not be using the funds right away. He/she will likely invest the money and earn interest on the investment. The discount is a way to give the worker the present-day value of the compensation.
The workers’ compensation lawyer will also review other items with the worker such as Social Security disability, retirement benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid. The wisdom and the amount of the settlement can depend on how these other public and private benefits affect your earnings and medical costs.
It’s important to remember that once you make a lump-sum settlement, you can’t go back and claim you need or deserve more money. At the law firm of Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, our workers’ compensation laws understand the legal, medical, financial, and practical issues in making a lump-sum settlement. We help injured workers across Delaware make timely and correct lump-sum settlements. We have offices in Seaford, Wilmington, and Newark – and represent workers who live anywhere in Delaware. For help now, please phone 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.