What are Structured Settlements?

Some Employer/Insurers in Workers' Compensation claims will wish to reach a structured settlement, with payments made to the Employee/Claimant over time. This can be common in larger claims, but it is also sometimes seen in smaller claims. The considerations in such situations in Workers' Compensation practice are largely the same as they are in Personal Injury practice, and will not be delineated here, except to emphasize that the attorney should consider having her own structured settlement expert or broker involved in the process, rather than relying upon the broker with whom the Employer/Insurer wishes to work.

There are at least two considerations that are particular to Workers' Compensation in the context of structured settlements. First, the Settlement Unit at the State Board of Workers' Compensation will probably require that the cost of the structured portion be disclosed, or even specifically stated in the settlement documentation. This is so that the Settlement Unit can verify that the attorney's fees are properly calculated and are no more than the 25% that is permitted by O.C.G.A. Sec. 34-9-108. Board Rule 15 governing settlements does not specifically require this, however. Board Rule 15 does specifically require that "the [settlement] stipulation must contain a provision that the employer and insurer will be liable for the agreement in the event of the default or failure of that third party to pay," so that if the entity paying the structured portion defaults, the Employer/Insurer will have to pay the amounts due.

If you would like to learn more about structured settlements, then contact Kaleita Law Firm, LLC, P.C. for a free case evaluation.

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