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Lump Sum Settlements for Injured Teachers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Educators With Workers’ Compensation Claims

Teachers face a wide range of risks on the job that they may not anticipate. These risks may include school violence, bus accidents, repetitive motion injuries, strain, lifting injuries, and slip and falls. Lump sum settlements for injured teachers can be complicated. You should discuss your situation with the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Lump Sum Settlements for Injured Teachers

The Illinois workers’ compensation system was intended to make it easier for workers to obtain compensation they needed after suffering job-related injuries. Unfortunately, it is a difficult system to navigate and your claim may be unfairly denied. There are various pitfalls that can arise that a teacher may not know to look out for. Among these are lump sum settlements.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows teachers and other workers to accept a lump-sum settlement for a work-related injury. Benefits to which you may be entitled after you’ve sustained a work-related injury include reasonable and necessary medical temporary total disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. Many of these benefits may be paid out over years when job-related injuries are serious. When you take a lump sum settlement, however, you may receive the entire amount in a single payment, in exchange for which you may waive your right to pursue further benefits.

It is critical to retain a lawyer to review the settlement contract the insurer will ask you to sign if it offers you a lump sum settlement. By accepting a lump sum settlement, you may be able to recover compensation more quickly by settling a case than you could if you file a contested claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and need to jump over several hurdles. However, in most cases, you won’t be able to obtain any further medical benefits or payments from the insurer in the event that your injuries worsen.

Advantages of a Lump Sum Settlement in Chicago

In some cases, a lump sum settlement turns out to be advantageous. As a teacher, you could recover costs for reasonably necessary medical services you’re expected to need that you may not need after all, down the road. For example, the lump sum settlement could include the costs of a surgery and subsequent rehabilitation you’re expected to need years into the future. If your injuries are healed without need for surgery, you’ll have gotten more money than you needed.

Disadvantages of a Lump Sum Settlement

It can be dangerous to accept a lump sum settlement, especially if you haven’t reached maximum medical improvement. You would waive your right to future medical benefits, even if your condition got worse. For example, if you are a teacher who sustained spinal cord damage after being shot in the classroom, there may be harm to your spinal cord that your treating physician doesn’t notice. If you wind up needing further surgery ten years into the future and you’ve waived your rights to future benefits, including medical care and disability pay, you may be left without recourse.

However, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate that if your medical condition changes, you’d have a renewed entitlement to certain benefits within a certain time frame.

Approval of a Teacher’s Lump Sum Settlement by the Commission

The compromise or settlement of your compensation rights is subject to approval by an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Your school or its workers’ compensation insurance company won’t be obliged to pay medical bills or disability pay after the Commission approves the agreement. However, you are entitled to seek review of the Commission in circuit court within the appropriate twenty days, as is the insurer. If no petition for review is filed, the settlement agreement becomes the final award.

Retain an Experienced Chicago Attorneys

Lump sum settlements for injured teachers should be examined carefully by a seasoned Chicago lawyer. Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca may be able to represent you. We also represent injured teachers in Aurora, Champaign, Quincy, and Rockford, as well as Kane, Winnebago, Sangamon, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.