Lump Sum Settlements for Auto Workers
Illinois law provides benefits for auto workers who suffer injuries in job-related accidents. Sometimes it is possible for auto workers to negotiate lump sum settlements that reflect what they're going to need in terms of replacement wages and medical care. However, some circumstances make a lump sum settlement for an auto worker inappropriate. It is important to work with an experienced Chicago workers' compensation attorney to be able to accurately assess the scope of your legal options.Lump Sum Settlements for Auto Workers
Injured auto workers may be able to obtain benefits through workers’ compensation that lighten the stresses of expensive medical care that is reasonably necessary. The benefits to which you may be entitled include medical benefits, disability benefits, and sometimes vocational rehabilitation. Often cases can be resolved through compromise and settlement.
A settlement is finalized in an agreement or contract between you and the insurer to release some or all of the insurer's obligations towards you in exchange for a particular amount of money. Usually this money is paid in a lump sum. Installment payments may be agreed upon, however, if you can only go back to work at a job that pays you less than what you made before your injury or if you're totally permanently disabled, which means you can't ever return to work at all due to your work injuries.
A lump sum allows the auto worker to recover money more quickly that he would be by going through the process of hearings. The lump sum settlement is a single payment, rather than payments over time. However, you should be aware that if you accept a lump sum settlement, you might los access to certain rights. Accordingly it is wise to accept a lump sum settlement only when you achieve maximum medical improvement. At this point, your doctor determines that you're fully better, or you've improved as much as you are able to with appropriate medical care. Accepting a lump sum settlement before reaching maximum medical improvement is risky because you don't know whether you'll need medical treatment down the road or what kind. A skilled work injury lawyer can help you assess whether it makes sense to accept a lump sum offer in your case.Effect of a Lump Sum Settlement
The lump sum settlement is subject to the terms of a settlement contract. Sometimes these contracts state an auto worker has no right to obtain other medical benefits in the future. Certain benefits do not always prove to be necessary. For example, medical evidence may now indicate that a discectomy is reasonably necessary to address the pain and incapacitation produced by a disc herniation. However, sometimes herniated discs heal without the discectomy, but with long-term physical therapy and medication.
Conversely, sometimes a worker waives certain rights to future benefits, and gets worse. One reason it's important to consult an attorney is that may be possible to negotiate and include in the contract that there is another right to benefits if your medical condition is altered in the future.Settlement Approval
A lump sum settlement for an auto worker or other injured employee needs to be approved by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. When there's an issue with the contract, an arbitrator returns it to the insurer and worker to be fixed. Generally, broad language that restricts a worker's right won't be approved. However, it is ideal to have legal representation through this process so that you have an advocate in case some aspect of the lump sum settlement agreement is adverse to your interests.Seasoned Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Chicago
Sometimes auto workers do not realize they're eligible to settle their workers' compensation claims, nor do they know they don't have to settle for multiple weekly payments. In Chicago, it is wise to retain an experienced workers' compensation lawyer who can advise you on when to settle and for much. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent injured auto workers in Rockford, Quincy, Champaign, Aurora, and Springfield, as well as Kane, Champaign, Sangamon, Winnebago, Adams, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online.