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If you were injured while at work, you might wish to pursue compensation through workers’ compensation benefits. However, depending on your unique circumstances, settling these benefits might be in your best interest.

However, instead of navigating this process alone, consider reaching out to a skilled lawyer to discuss Durham workers’ compensation settlements. A steadfast attorney could work to assess your case and guide you through the ensuing steps to seek recovery.

How a Settlement Functions for Workers’ Compensation Claims

Regarding workers’ compensation, a settlement is an agreement between the insurance company and the injured worker—and, if retained, their attorney—in which the insurance company would pay a lump sum amount of money, in exchange for, essentially, a divorce from the insurance company and the employer. These settlements often require the employee to resign from employment, which might, naturally, impact the employee’s benefits. However, any vested benefits—such as 401K plans or pensions—are not affected. On the other hand, any ongoing benefits, such as health insurance or flight benefits for airline employees, could potentially be terminated.

If a person decides that they want to settle, they might wish to ensure that consideration for wage replacement is included in their settlement if they are disabled, as well as making sure that future medical care is also included. A person’s average weekly wage is defined as the average of the past 72 weeks of earning for that individual. If they have worked less time than a year, however, there are other methods by which one might calculate their average weekly wage. A knowledgeable attorney could help by further explaining these calculations and suggesting what might be included.

When to Consider Settling

An injured worker might consider settling a case if they are injured to the extent that they are unable to return to their pre-job injury or have been terminated by their employer—or suspect they might be. In certain situations, settlements might not make sense, however. For example, if the injured worker still wants to work with their employer and they are able to accommodate the worker’s restrictions.

Who is Involved in Settling a Claim in Durham?

Usually, an injured worker and their attorney are involved in a settlement directly with the worker’s insurance company. However, in certain situations, the company might hire an attorney to negotiate on their behalf. In some cases, settlement happens through a process called mediation, in which all parties are present and settle the case in person.

The plaintiff or the injured worker’s first role is, therefore, to consult with their attorney and to decide whether or not it makes sense to settle their case. Nobody is going to require that they settle the case. The role of the insurance company and their representative is to evaluate the claim and to see what their exposure could possibly be, as well as to potentially offer enough money to resolve the case.

What is Writing Payment?

If an injured worker gets hurt at work and is given a PBD rating of a percentage, but is able to return to their job, they might be paid in a writing, meaning they could be paid based on the formula for their disability. With a writing payment, they are still able to keep their job and their medical claim stays open for up to two years.

Workers’ Comp Settlements and Taxes

Workers’ compensation benefits are non-taxable, meaning the checks that a person receives for being temporarily disabled are not subject to tax. Furthermore,  in some cases, settlements may not be subject to tax. However, it is always prudent to consult a tax professional for specific tax advice for their circumstance.

Concerning taxes, a person seeking workers’ comp benefits might wish to work with a lawyer. For example, if a person paid certain separate consideration for a confidentiality agreement, that amount of money might be subject to tax. Therefore, it could be important to work with an attorney to make sure that the worker has full advantage of a settlement in tax complications or complex issues involving tax.

How an Attorney Might Help With Durham Workers’ Compensation Settlements

It is important for an injured worker to have a local Durham workers’ compensation lawyer on their side when handling a settlement with their employers. Any time there are potential large exchanges of money, a person might benefit from having a seasoned professional on their side. This is because they do not want to leave money on the table or give up anything that they did not have to.

A seasoned attorney could help to evaluate a case, especially if that attorney has experience in dealing with that insurance company, that particular injury, and even the lawyer on the other side. If you were injured while on the job and are considering your legal options, consider calling a dedicated lawyer for help with Durham workers’ compensation settlements and deciding how to proceed. To learn more, call a legal professional today.