Post Lump Sum Claims for Benefits in the Auto Industry

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Chicago Employees

Sometimes insurers offer lump sum settlements to auto workers who have been injured on the job and are making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. That means they offer the money for injury and disability sustained in a workplace accident in a single payment rather than spaced out over time. Often workers must sign away their rights to bring future claims based on receiving the lump sum settlement. Even so, if you think you might have a post lump sum claim for benefits in the auto industry, the tenacious Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can help you evaluate your legal options.

Lump Sum Settlements

Usually lump sum settlements are paid in a single payment, but you might get paid in installments over time. There are advantages and disadvantages for lump sum settlements. As a worker who is offered a lump sum settlement for your needs, you need to look closely at the settlement and talk to an experienced attorney to figure out whether you should take the lump sum settlement and whether what you’re getting is enough to waive your rights to future medical benefits. In some cases, an auto worker’s medical condition gets worse; you shouldn’t agree to a lump sum settlement if your you haven’t reached maximum medical improvement.

In most cases, a settlement agreement extinguishes your future right to benefits, including medical care should you need it. But, through negotiations with the help of an attorney, you may be able to get the insurer to keep your medical rights open. For example, if you may need major medical treatment in the future, it may be possible to negotiate to keep your rights to bring future claims under certain circumstances. After you agree to a lump sum settlement, the contract must be accepted by the Illinois Industrial Commission.

Post Lump Sum Claims for Benefits in the Auto Industry

The language of the settlement agreement will determine whether you can pursue any post-lump sum claims for benefits in the auto industry. Where a settlement contract specifies that the insurer no longer has any liability to pay unpaid medical bills, they become your responsibility. Before approving a lump sum settlement, the Commission will require you to read and understand certain statements about your settlement, including that you are giving up rights to a trial in front of an arbitrator, the right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision to the Commission, the right to further medical treatment at the employer’s expense, and the right to additional benefits if your condition worsens because of an injury.

However, the contract language should specify whether you’ve waived your right to future medical benefits and there are exceptions. Some settlement agreements expressly state the parties agree there is a renewed right to benefits if your condition is changed. There are strict time constraints on filing a petition asking for changes once a lump sum settlement is approved and issued.

Once a settlement is approved by the Commissioner, you may have a certain window of time during which you can ask for additional medical services that are reasonably necessary to help with symptoms connected to your work injury or disease. The insurer or employer may not agree to a request for medical services, and you might be able to petition asking the Commission to resolve the controversy. In Illinois, you can petition to reopen your case due to a worsening injury within 30 months, but you should be aware that most settlement contracts expressly waive your rights to reopen the case due to worsening injury.

Petition to Reopen Your Claim

If you wish to reopen your claim due to a worsening injury or condition, you will need to attach medical records to support your claim. Your doctor will need to agree that your health has worsened, and be able to explain how the worsening relates to the original injury, rather than some external cause. Your doctor must also be able to state what treatment is needed. If a petition to reopen a claim is accepted, an administrative judge will hear it. It is wise to obtain representation through this process. You’ll have to show why your case should be reopened and for what additional benefits.

Consult a Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago If you are concerned about post lump sum claims for benefits in the auto industry in Chicago, you can consult a knowledgeable workers’ compensation

lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent auto workers injured on the job in Champaign, Rockford, Aurora, and Quincy, as well as Kane, Winnebago, Adams, Cook, and Sangamon Counties. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.