Q: What is a lump sum settlement?
A lump sum settlement is a negotiated and Board-approved agreement between a claimant with a permanent partial disability and the insurer(s). As a result of the agreement the claimant receives a sum of money which would represent the future compensation for his/her permanent partial disability, and your case is considered closed. Under WCL .15(5-b), granting of a settlement by the Board requires that (a) the right to compensation has been established and compensation has been paid for at least three months, (b) the continuance of disability and of future earning capacity cannot be ascertained with reasonable certainty, (c) there has been a physical examination of the claimant prior to approval, and (d) the Board considers the settlement "fair and in the best interest of the claimant." In practice, lump sum settlements are usually final, but the law provides for your case to reopen if the Board finds that there has been a change in your condition or degree of disability not contemplated at the time of the settlement.