Fontana, CA asked in Workers' Compensation for California

Q: Lump sum vs structured settlement in work comp claim? A few questions


I filed a work comp claim in 2017. The claim is about to be settled. I actually have a lawyer, but I don’t feel I made the right choice of lawyer. I can’t switch because rather than paying upfront, he’ll receive 15% of the settlement. I saw a QME whose report says I have 24% whole person impairment. My lawyer wants to settle for about 50k & in the form of a structured settlement, that I’d receive over a few years. Is 50k is a good amount for 24% impairment? I’m not sure.I haven’t signed paperwork to settle yet, but my lawyer didn’t give me an option other than the structured settlement. What are advantages/disadvantages of structured settlement vs lump sum? My lawyer is switching law firms so I don’t want him to rush my case without considering the best outcome for me. If I were to pass away would my spouse or child be able to receive the settlement money? And if my employer were to go bankrupt/not exist, would I receive the settlement money? I’d appreciate your opinion. Thank you

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nancy J. Wallace
Nancy J. Wallace
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Grand Terrace, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: OF COURSE you can switch! This attorney you have now will SPLIT 15% of an award, not take 15% off the top. For example, if you get a new attorney, for a $50,000 award the judge would order the two lawyers to split up $9,000. NOW, maybe this current attorney has a very good deal for you, and you need to understand it better. Have you let this current attorney know you are not satisfied with the $50,000 and you would like to see the outcome for different resolution options? A structured settlement forces some of your money into investments, and you lose a big chunk if you take it out early. Many times you get a little extra settlement money when you are investing that money with that insurance company...for instance, Liberty will come up with an extra $10,000 when you are putting that $10,000 extra into annuities with Liberty, because it doesn't actually cost them $10,000. PLEASE LET YOUR ATTORNEY KNOW YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND WILL NOT BE AGREEING OR SIGNING ANYTHING unless and until he/she explains options in a way that you can understand, using words you can understand. 24% Impairment?? Whole Person IMpairment gets 'adjusted' for the heaviness of your pre-injury job and your age... then there is a Permanent Disability percentage. IF THIS ATTORNEY CANNOT USE LANGUAGE YOU UNDERSTAND then do go find one that can explain this.

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