New Workers’ Compensation Law Changes Structured Settlements.
What does this mean to injured workers seeking a structured settlement through Workers' Compensation?
Before. . . .Workers who, in the course of employment, are injured or disabled from an occupational disease are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which may include medical, temporary time-loss, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and permanent disabilities benefits.
Eligible workers have the option to settle parts of their workers’ compensation claims through structured settlements. Settlements are available for injured workers who are age 50 and older.
Prior to the unanimous and bipartisan passage of SB 5046, eligible workers seeking to settle part or all of their claim through a Structured Settlement with periodic payments were required to offset that amount by any Social Security Disability payments; leaving the injured worker never fully compensated.
After. . .The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries can compensate the injured worker via a lump sum to avoid the offset.
“The interpretation of the law and interaction between the state Workers’ Compensation system and federal Social Security Disability system left injured workers without being fully compensated,” said Peter Abbarno, attorney and partner with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP. “The new law allows workers to more equitably resolve their claims. I am glad to see this legislation supported unanimously.”
At the option of the parties, a claim resolution settlement may either be paid out in a single lump sum to avoid the offset or be paid on a structured basis. If the parties opt to have the settlement paid on a structured basis, the agreement must meet the payment schedule provisions of the law.