Lump Sum Payment for Future Disability
The fact that insurance companies offer cash settlements is the first clue that these arrangements may not be in your best interests. But a lump sum payment for a work-related disability may be prudent or necessary in your specific case.
The Law Offices of Hansen Malagon will help you weigh the pros and cons of a workers' compensation settlement in lieu of weekly benefits. Our Portland practice counsels and represents injured workers throughout western Oregon. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Claim Disposition Agreement — Mortgaging Your Future?
The insurer may offer to settle your claim up front. In exchange for a cash settlement, you give up your right to bi-weekly wage loss benefits, permanent partial disability, vocational rehabilitation everything except medical care. Fair enough.
The catch? In a Claim Disposition Agreement, you are taking a gamble that you will not need disability payments in the future or retraining in the future should your condition not improve or worsen. The employer still pays for your ongoing medicals, but only for accepted conditions. Say that your official disability is "dislocated kneecap" and you take a workers' compensation settlement. If it turns out that you need surgery for a torn ACL ligament, you may not be covered for that or if it is covered they will only pay for the medical treatment but not pay you for time off work and permanent disability.
Disputed Claim Settlement — Tipping the Scales in Your Favor
Sometimes a settlement is the only way to obtain money for your medical care and lost wages. In a Disputed Claim Settlement (DCS), you only get money and nothing else. Generally, you don't want to do this if you can win. Under Oregon's workers' comp law, in many instances, you must prove that a work injury is the major cause of your condition — a very high threshold if you have a pre-existing condition or genetic predisposition. In "real court," we only need to prove that the work injury is a contributing cause.
A Disputed Claim Settlement can also be coupled with an agreement to resolve an employment situation. An employer cannot fire you for filing a workers' compensation claim. In a DCS, the insurance company may agree to a cash settlement and also a separate agreement to drop any potential employment discrimination claims.
Such a settlement can affect the rest of your life. Talk it over with an experienced lawyer who can determine if it makes sense for you. Our firm's workers' compensation attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience handling work injury claims, including many workers' compensation settlements.
Call us at 503-821-7934 or 866-661-8679 for a free consultation. We can meet clients at our Portland, Gresham/Clackamas, Salem or Eugene/Springfield offices, including after hours and weekends.