If a NC worker obtains full workers' compensation benefits for their total impairment, they will receive "comp amount" each week for the rest of their life--or until they return to work. Employers are not able to make these payments in advance. The amount that the injured worker is entitled does not change. It is not adjusted for inflation or cost-of-living increases.
In the case of total and permanent disability--it's sometimes better for both parties to reach an agreement that satisfies the employer's liability to the injured worker in one lump-sum payment. After this lump-sum payment is satisfied, the employer would then have no further responsibility for the worker. These agreements are commonly known as "clincher agreements."
An insurance company's costs will always go up for hiring staff, maintaining computers and office space for processing the injured workers' weekly payments. Since it costs a lot of money for insurance companies to administer payments to a worker for the rest of their life, clincher agreements are usually presented. The insurance company benefits from a clincher agreement because they can satisfy an injured worker right away and avoid the future administration costs.
Clincher agreements sometimes benefit the injured worker if the settlement amount is large enough. When a worker is receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits there is likely an offset or reduction of Social Security benefits because the claimant is receiving workers' comp. If the clincher agreement is prepared properly, once the clincher is executed, the Social Security disability benefit will increase after weekly workers' comp benefits stop. Plus, the injured worker isn't left with the burden of the complexities of a workers' comp claim, like routine correspondence with insurance adjusters or possibilities that a private detective is monitoring them.
A clincher agreement gives security to both the worker and the insurance company. The injured worker benefits from the lump sum and knowing that the money is all theirs no matter what the insurance company does from that point forward. However, an NC injured worker should never try to negotiate a clincher agreement without the assistance of an experienced workers' comp attorney. The injured worker is giving up all of their rights to future claims with a clincher agreement. It's not a situation that they should do on their own. Contact an attorney at Brent Adams & Associates for help with your workers' comp case.