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Lump sum workers' compensation awards in Massachusetts

There are some situations in life where one has to determine if they want to receive certain benefits in a lump sum or in another format, usually an extended form of multiple payments over time. This might apply regarding annuities or even if a person were to win the lottery. It can also apply when Massachusetts workers get hurt on the job and need to obtain workers' compensation benefits.

From broken bones to fatal accidents, sadly it is not impossible for a worker in any industry to become harmed while working. Usually, injured workers - or the families of deceased workers - will file workers' compensation claims in order to obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. These much-needed benefits can bridge the gap between the costs incurred by an injury and a full recovery wherein a worker is back on the job.

Typically, an injured worker will receive weekly benefits checks, but sometimes a lump sum amount can take the place of weekly checks. In some instances the lump sum amount may also take the place of other benefits. How does a worker know if a lump sum is in their own best interest? This can be difficult to figure out, since the workers' compensation process itself is often fraught with confusion and competing interests. An employer may not have their worker's best interests in mind, and neither may the insurance company one is dealing with. A Worcester workers' comp attorney can serve as a formidable ally during this confusing time.

A judge will often decide if a lump sum is in the injured worker's best interests. This decision often involves weighing the value of the lump sum against the value of other benefits. Usually, one's employer also has to approve the lump sum agreement. In the event that an employer does not approve of the lump sum agreement, a worker can usually still keep receiving their weekly benefits instead. Signing a lump sum agreement does not prevent an injured worker from keeping their employment with that employer or from obtaining employment with a different employer. In addition, a lump sum agreement does not prevent a work accident victim from bringing future workers' comp claims in regard to on-the-job injury or illness which occur later.

Source: Department of Industrial Accidents, "Lump Sum Brochure," accessed April 10, 2016

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