At this particular moment many people are wondering about settlements. It’s a mysterious thing. Are you going to be able to pay your mortgage? Are you able to get paid while you heal? Do you have a stipend? Can you get a lump sum? Here are some ideas of what a settlement can mean to the average “Joe.”
A settlement in a Worker’s Compensation case today is the normal customary way that these things are computed. In Pennsylvania you don’t have to settle your case. You can receive Worker’s Compensation benefits for as long as you are totally disabled. But Total Disability is rare. It’s not something that happens but to a very small percentage of claimants, lifetime total disability. Eventually the insurance company will find a way to show you have an ability to earn some money.
Once they show youa re not totally disabled, they only have to pay for another 500 weeks or 9 ½ years. That serves as the basis for settling the claim along with the projected future medical expenses. So you take someone who was a laborer and only knows how to work by the sweat of his brow. How is he going to if he is young enough in his 30’s or 40’s or maybe even early 50’s, support a family with a Worker’s Compensation settlement? Well a lot of times those settlements can be structured so that a lump sump money is paid to the client. He continues to receive a monthly stipend, not as much as he would have received if he was on Worker’s Comp but he continues to do that. And he can continue to receive reimbursement for medical expenses.
Worker’s Compensation is not a be all and end all. It is a safety net for that period of time where you can’t work and it’s an invitation once you come to the conclusion you are not going to be able to go back to the job that you formerly did. Frankly the statistics are that if you are out of work for more than a year the chances of you going back to the job that you were doing before you were hurt are zero. If you are out more than two years the chances of you going back to work in that category of work where you had worked during your working life. If it was a laboring job if you were out more than two years you are not going to be able to go back. The chances are zero you will be able to go back to any kind of a labouring job. So it’s an opportunity when you are finally faced with those facts to examine what other alternatives there are out there for someone who is injured.