Washington State law now allows certain injured workers, their employers, and L&I to permanently settle the non-medical portion of a worker’s comp claim in exchange for an agreed structured payment plan. In most structured settlements, the claim is closed and the worker receives fixed payments over a period of time as laid out in the agreement. Workers who enter into a structured settlement agreement may still receive medical treatment for conditions allowed on their claim. All agreements must be reviewed and approved by the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.

In a state fund claim, any party can submit a structured settlement application form to the Department of Labor and Industries. The department will then perform an initial review and determine if negotiations should proceed. When deciding whether or not to enter into negotiations for a structured settlement, the department will consider certain non-exclusive factors.

To be eligible, you must be an injured worker who:

  • Is at least 55 years of age, and
  • Has an accepted worker’s compensation claim in Washington, and
  • Had the claim received by L&I or the self-insured employer at least 180 days before the agreement is signed

Beginning January 1, 2015, the age requirement drops to 53, and will drop further to 50 effective January 1, 2016. Currently, L&I is not considering settlements for claims that are closed, and there is no provision for benefits of survivors of injured workers.

Workers Who Could benefit from a Structured Settlement

A structured settlement could best benefit those workers who have a source of income other than L&I benefits, or those who wish to return to work part-time. Workers who are not interested in re-training for another occupation, or who are eligible now, or soon will be eligible, for any retirement benefits they have earned including, Social Security or a union pension.

How an Attorney Can Help

Structured settlements for worker’s compensation involve complex legal procedures, and can have a significant financial impact on injured workers as well as their families. It is important for workers and employers to be informed of their rights and how a settlement may impact their future livelihoods. Contact us today and let one of our knowledgeable attorneys answer any questions you may have regarding a structured settlement plan for your eligible worker’s compensation claim.


Lump Sum

If you’ve been injured in an accident, have taken the responsible party to court and have been awarded compensation you still have an important decision to make. Should you accept the compensation as a lump sum or structured payments? It’s a very important decision and can be a confusing one to make. To help ease in your decision making we have created a short guide on the pros and cons of each option.


Lump Sum Payments

The benefits in accepting a lump sum payment might seem obvious. As soon as your accident claim is closed, you receive a giant payment and you money is immediately available for anything that you might need. You can make improvements to your home to help you cope with a disability, or pay off the debt that has begun to spiral out of control. One major benefit of choosing a lump sum payment is that you don’t have to worry about the value of your settlement being eroded by inflation, as many structured settlements don’t take the rising cost of living into account as well as they should.

However, there are drawbacks to taking a lump sum payment. Much like lottery winners tend to mismanage their sudden good fortune, lump sum payments can quickly vanish too, if one spends wastefully. Controlling your spending and wisely investing a portion of your settlement could put you in a great position, but spending recklessly and living beyond your means could leave you in even worse economic shape than before.

Structured Settlement Payments

A structured settlement offers a variety of benefits to meet a claimant’s goals following a physical injury. Whether you want to retire earlier than planned, need extra money to replace lost earnings due to the injury, or want to have extra income for when your kids go to college, structured settlements can be tailored to meet your specific goals.

It is also possible to have your structured settlement linked to the inflation rate, or at least have the payments increase over time by a set amount. This helps to eliminate the downfalls that can effect structured settlements. There are some limitations, but the principle and interest generated from structured settlement annuities can be tax exempt for plaintiffs who have sustained physical injuries.

Structured settlements are not without their pitfalls, as you could find yourself in a stressful situation if you run into a sudden financial emergency because you don’t have access to all of your money.

There are benefits to both structured and lump sum settlement options but hopefully this has helped increase your understanding of each option.

Contact Seattle Car Accident Lawsuit Attorneys

If a negligent driver injures you or someone you love, an experienced Seattle car accident attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle personal injury lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented injured individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.