Lump Sum Settlements for City of Chicago Workers
If you are employed by the City of Chicago and suffer injuries on the job, you may be offered a lump sum settlement. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, workers can accept a lump sum settlement or benefit for their injuries rather than accept continuing payments. This arrangement is not always to a worker’s benefit, however. The lump sum amount may seem attractive, but may not be sufficient to cover their future financial costs for an injury. The City may offer you the lump sum settlement because it usually precludes further payments and might cost them less over the long haul; however, that doesn’t mean the offer is a fair amount. An experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can help you evaluate whether a lump sum settlement is a beneficial resolution for your case.Lump Sum Settlements for City of Chicago Workers
You have the right to seek benefits from your employer under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The City of Chicago is self-insured for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against the City if you are injured while in its employ. That means you won’t be able to sue the employer for compensation for your injuries. Instead, you’ll need to rely on workers’ compensation benefits. The system was designed to be easier than filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court; you need not prove fault the way you would need to do in court. However, this doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get benefits. Unfortunately, the City may deny claims that are valid or offer a lump sum settlement that is not, ultimately, in your best interest.
Workers’ compensation benefits can include medical expenses and wage replacement in the form of disability benefits. Ordinarily these payments are made in installments. However, they may be offered as a lump sum settlement. A lump sum settlement for a City of Chicago worker or other employee is usually subject to a settlement contract that significantly restricts your rights, such that you can’t pursue further medical expenses or other benefits once the settlement is accepted.
If a claim is disputed, a lump sum settlement may be especially attractive. This is because if you don’t accept the settlement, you risk not getting any benefits or receiving fewer benefits than the lump sum settlement. However, in some situations, a condition that seemed stable can worsen. What seems like a temporary total disability may eventually turn into a permanent total disability. It’s not always clear from the start what the prognosis for an injury or occupational injury is.Maximum Medical Improvement
You can’t sign a lump sum settlement agreement within 7 days of suffering your workplace injury. It may be worth considering a lump sum settlement if your doctor has told you you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, or that you’ve improved as much as you will. If you settle before you reach maximum medical improvement, you don’t know whether you’ll ultimately need more than the lump sum entitles you to receive. If you sign the settlement agreement, and you wind up unexpectedly needing surgery, the language of the settlement agreement may limit your ability to get the funds for that surgery because you already received a lump sum benefit.
There are situations in which it might be advisable to settle a case for a lump sum before you get to maximum medical improvement, but it is still wise to talk to a skillful workers’ compensation lawyer before settling. It may be possible to negotiate a lump sum settlement with the City that would include funds to pay for future medical care that may become necessary. It may also be possible to negotiate to limit the language of the agreement in other ways, so that certain claims are left open while others are closed.Seasoned Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you are concerned about lump sum settlements for City of Chicago workers, you can talk to a knowledgeable work injury lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent injured workers in Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, as well as Adams, Winnebago, Cook, Kane, and Sangamon Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.