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.