Discussion 1: Settling a Pending Claim:
The lump sum payment is tempting to many claimants who might need the cash for living expenses. As a concerned professional, the settlement amount, if not carefully considered, will often fall short of expectations. The client must understand the true consequences of accepting any lump sum amount for a claim.
Ron Floyd, a prospective client, comes to your law firm. Ron has had a workers’ compensation claim pending for two years. Ron is unable to work, is in danger of losing his home, and faces many creditors. Ron’s employer offers to settle for an amount less than Ron is entitled to under statute. Ron wants advice from your law firm on whether to accept his employer’s offer or not. Your boss asks for your opinion on the case.
Based on the above information, state what would you advise Ron and why? Provide a well-reasoned answer.
Discussion 2: Waiving Compensation Rights
Workers’ Compensation carriers often offer to settle claims because the offer to settle is a sum specific rather than the uncertainty of weekly benefits for an unspecified period of time. The carriers will often attempt to prohibit employees from coming back for later claims even though the later claim might be unrelated.
A woman with her second workers’ compensation claim for back injury is presented with a settlement agreement where she is asked to waive all future rights to any claim for back injury in exchange for a specific sum.
Based on the above information, analyze whether she should sign the agreement? Provide a rationale for your position.