In general, any unfulfilled back child support you owe can be taken from your workers’ compensation settlement. Additional allowable deductions may include attorneys’ fees, unpaid medical bills, and Medicare set-asides—an account from which Medicare deducts future medical bills before covering your healthcare costs.
A workers’ compensation settlement usually compensates you for your current and future benefits in a lump sum rather than weekly payments. It is final and binding once approved by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, so you should consider hiring a workers’ comp attorney to help you negotiate a fair settlement amount. A workers’ compensation lawyer will explain more about what kind of deductions can be taken from your workers’ compensation settlement.
Understand Your Potential Workers’ Compensation Settlement Deductions
When you sustain a workplace injury, the extent of your injuries could prevent you from working to support yourself or your family. However, you have the right to financial benefits and cost-free medical care throughout your recovery.
You could attempt to handle your workers’ compensation settlement alone. However, the process might be easier to understand with the guidance and support of personal injury attorneys in your area. Their familiarity with Georgia law means they can ensure an accurate assessment of your settlement amount that includes these possible deductions.
Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
Many personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers will accept your case on a contingency fee basis. Thus, they handle all the costs of building your case without expecting or accepting payment unless you receive a settlement.
Once that happens, your lawyer will take a percentage of your settlement as their fee. However, you owe your attorney nothing if you don’t receive a settlement or recover benefits.
Your lawyer will explain their fee structure to you at your initial consultation. In addition, the judge in your workers’ compensation case must approve this fee.
In some cases, you may have received medical care that workers’ compensation insurance denied coverage or did not reimburse for another reason. So, if you have unpaid medical bills related to your workplace injury, your final settlement will take care of those bills. In addition, your lawyer might be able to negotiate these bills on your behalf.
If Medicare or Medicaid paid your workplace injury-related medical bills, you must reimburse them from your settlement. In addition, you may have to establish a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set Aside Arrangement to cover any future medical care one of these programs would have covered.
Permanent Disability Advances
The decision to classify your workplace injuries as permanently disabling could come before resolving your settlement. Some states require the payment of permanent disability benefits right away. Others will only make advance payments to accommodate your immediate needs. If this happens in your case, these payments will be deducted from your final settlement.
If your employer denied your initial request for workers’ compensation benefits, you might have relied on unemployment benefits to meet your household needs. You might have to repay these benefits once you secure a workers’ compensation settlement.
Child Support Obligations
If you have an outstanding child support balance (often called arrears), the court could require you to pay that balance from your settlement. The court could garnish all or part of your obligation depending on how much you owe..
Georgia follows federal law in determining the disposable earnings subject to garnishment, such as a lump-sum workers’ compensation settlement. Your lawyer will clarify any applicable limitations and how much of your settlement is subject to withholding.
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How Can I Be Sure of the Validity of My Deductions?
Applying for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits can be a time-consuming and tedious process. A workers’ compensation lawyer can explain each step of the settlement process and help you navigate it. They can also help you understand what you can expect to have deducted from a potential settlement and when.
Will Taxes Be Deducted From My Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
In most cases, workers’ compensation settlements or weekly payments are not subject to income tax. However, some exceptions may create certain tax deductions—for example, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits that are offset by workers’ compensation benefits.
Again, your workers’ comp lawyer can explain whether these exceptions apply to your settlement. In addition, they can clarify the specifics of your situation and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
Get Help Understanding Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
If you receive a workers’ compensation settlement, Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can help you understand what kind of deductions you can expect. In addition, our workers’ compensation attorney will also ensure the validity of any deductions taken from your settlement.
Finally, our team can help you negotiate a fair and appropriate settlement. So, contact one of our team members today to get started.