Massachusetts Workers Compensation Settlement
Most workers compensation cases in Massachusetts settle. Sometimes they settle before a claim is filed at the Department of Industrial Accidents, and sometimes they settle after a claim is filed. If you are out of work and collecting your weekly workers comp benefit checks, it may make sense to settle your case. Here is some information about Massachusetts a workers compensation settlement, which are called lump sum settlements.
What is a lump sum settlement?
A lump sum settlement is a final settlement of the case. It is a written document that is signed by you, your attorney, and the insurance company’s attorney. If the settlement is with liability, that means the insurance company must pay for your future medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to your work injury. By law, your attorney cannot collect more than 20% of the lump sum amount as his/her legal fee. If the settlement is without liability, that means the insurance company will not be paying for medical bills that you incur in the future after the lump sum is approved by the court.
What documents are part of the lump sum settlement?
The Form 117 is part of any lump sum, as it form 116C which is a lien disclosure form. If there are any liens, such as a Mass Health or Department of Revenue lien, such liens will need to be resolved prior to the presentation of the lump sum to the judge. For lump sum agreements with liability, the form 116B must be attached to the lump sum, as that pertains to vocational rehabilitation which the injured worker is then entitled to. Vocational rehabilitation must be applied for within two years of the date of the lump sum settlement.
How are lump sums approved?
These settlement agreements are submitted to a judge at the Department of Industrial Accidents. Once the lump sum paperwork is fully completed and signed, four copies of the agreement are presented to the judge. Next, your attorney will give to the judge some background on who you are, your prior work history, the injuries you suffered in the accident, and also the terms of the settlement. The judge will then ask the lawyer from the insurance company if he/she would like to add anything. Next, the judge will ask you if you want to settle the case, and the effects the settlement has on the case.