This is a question we are asked often. When a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim is settled by way of a lump sum settlement and approved by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), the insurance company will mail a check directly to the injured worker. The settlement check will represent the net proceeds from the settlement as the insurance company will also mail a check to the injured worker’s attorney for the legal fees and expenses, if any. The insurance company is required by the laws in Massachusetts to mail the lump sum settlement check to the injured worker within a specific time period, or they will be penalized.
Sometimes, there is confusion of whether the settlement check will be mailed to the injured worker’s attorney first. The misunderstanding most likely comes from the difference between a settlement of a personal injury claim (e.g., car accident case, slip and fall, etc…) and a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts.
With a settlement of a personal injury claim in Massachusetts, typically the insurance company will issue the settlement check to the injured person’s attorney. The personal injury lawyer will then deposit the settlement check in their client trust account (IOLTA). From there, the attorney will pay any expenses or liens associated with the personal injury claim and then issue the net proceeds of the settlement check to the injured person.
But, with a settlement of a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company will mail the settlement directly to the injured employee.