If you happen to have a workers’ comp claim because of a work injury or work-related illness, it would involve various processes. There will be negotiations and sometimes appeals if the parties fail to reach a definitive agreement. Then, once you get a settlement sum, your lawyer, your doctors, and even government agencies will receive some of it. This article looks at what will get deducted from your workers’ comp settlement and how much you’ll get to keep.
Attorneys Fees and Costs
In most jurisdictions, including Maryland, workers’ comp lawyers charge what’s referred to as a contingency fee. It simply means that you will not pay your attorney until they get you a settlement sum. When they do, the lawyer is entitled to a certain percentage of the money.
Under the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers can get as low as 20% and as high as 40%, depending on the judgment sum. Depending on the processes involved in the case’s conclusion, the lawyer can get a percentage of the total settlement sum.
On the other hand, the fee may be on some portions of the award. If your lawyer made any payment on your behalf while the case persisted, you’d reimburse them. The preceding often covers filing and service fees. It would be best if you reviewed the content of your attorney fee agreement before signing.
Unpaid Medical Bills
This is the second-highest deductor of your settlement sum outside attorney fees. If you fail in your workers’ compensation claim against the insurance company and win on appeal, you will get awarded a sum to cover all medical expenses.
If throughout the process, you paid your bills out-of-pocket, then you can pocket the settlement sum. But if your doctors agreed to postpone payment, then it’s time to pay up. Note that sometimes, your attorney can get the insurance company to cover specific medical expenses.
They can also get the medical costs lowered. If they succeed in either of the two, you’ll have more money, but if not, a part of your compensation will offset the bill. Also, keep in mind that your injury’s severity and the time spent receiving treatment both play a vital role.
Medicare or Medicaid Set-Aside Account
Under federal law, Medicare will not pay for injuries covered by workers’ compensation insurance. But where there’s a dispute on a person’s workers’ comp liability, Medicare will pay for their treatment conditionally. Thus, when the person eligible for Medicare wins an appeal, part of their settlement goes to the government.
Additionally, if the settlement includes future medical costs — unless the insurance pays all expenses directly — you still need to settle Medicare. You’ll do this by putting money into the Medicare Set-Aside Account (MSA). The preceding will pay for all future medical bills related to the work injury.
Permanent Disability Advances
A permanent disability advance is a lump sum paid to victims before getting their permanent disability award (PDA). If you have the financial resources to make ends meet until you get the PDA, you can wait to receive your money.
If you request an advance, you might pay a fee. It might also affect the amount of money you get paid for the permanent disability in some instances. It is best to speak with your workers’ compensation lawyer before applying for a permanent disability award.
Unpaid Child Support
Most people are not aware of this, but you can have a judgment lien enforced against your workers’ comp settlement. In most cases, part or all of the settlement sum goes for child support payment missed when you were recovering. In Maryland, only 25% of a workers’ comp settlement can go to pay a judgment lien for unpaid child support.
Additionally, workers’ comp benefits for temporary or permanent disability are considered income to calculate child support. Similarly, a custodial parent can collect part of the weekly disability checks.
How Much Workers’ Comp Settlement Can You Keep?
All the factors above determine how much you’ll take home at the end of your workers’ comp settlement. While it is impossible to give a definite amount, it is clear that you can either get a lot of money or very little. This is why you need the expertise of a workers’ comp lawyer.
Pinder Plotkin LLC Can Help You!
When dealing with injuries, it can be challenging to focus on your case and negotiate enough to get you a high settlement. But if you desire to get fair compensation, then hire one of our Maryland workers’ comp lawyers. At Pinder Plotkin LLC, our lawyers have the experience required to help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.