Settlement Process

A California workers’ compensation case can end through a judicial decision through a trial or as a result of a voluntary settlement. There are typically two ways that you can settle a workers’ compensation case in California. One is known as a “Compromise and Release,” and the other is known as a “Stipulation with Request for Award.” Each type of settlement has its differences, but both allow the injured employee to be paid a portion of permanent disability for the injury. The settlement process in a workers’ compensation case is pertinent and can be different for everyone. Your Stockton workers’ compensation attorney can help you through the settlement process no matter what route you end up taking.

How do workers’ compensation cases typically settle?

Settlement ProcessA workers’ compensation case can end with a workers’ compensation judge deciding on an award after a trial or through a settlement agreement. Workers’ compensation cases in California typically reach the settlement phase when the injured employee’s condition is not expected to change and is stable. You have the right to settle your workers’ compensation case at any time; however, our Stockton workers’ compensation attorneys recommend that you only pay once the full extent of your injuries is known. Settlements allow injured workers to conclude claims more quickly than a trial, but sacrifices often have to be made regarding the benefits they will receive. 

What are a Compromise and Release? 

A Compromise and Release is the most similar to a typical settlement agreement that you would see in other areas of law. A Compromise and Release agreement wraps your potential, past, and future claims into one specific settlement and then wipes the slate clean. You do not have rights to any future medical care, rights to temporary disability, rights to permanent disability, and rights to vocational rehabilitation. To end the case, one party would pay the other party, and once paid, each party would have no further ties to the other. 

One drawback is that if the injured worker is still an employee of the company the insurance company insures, they will typically not agree to a Compromise and Release. A Compromise and Release naturally will release the employer and insurance company from future responsibilities for the injury. If the injured worker is still an employee of the company, they could file a new claim for the same injury, and thus the insurance company would have to pay for the injury twice.  

What is a Stipulation with a Request for an Award? 

A Stipulation with a Request for an Award isn’t a settlement of your case; it’s an agreement reached over the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to receive. The agreement is put into a written stipulation and given to a workers’ compensation judge, who then issues an award. You still have future rights, and you have not settled those future rights when you have a Stipulation with a Request for an Award. If you need continued medical care related to that injury down the line, then you are entitled to that medical care. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will cover it, subject to utilization review. If your injuries worsen within five years of the injury’s original date, you can petition to reopen your case to increase your stipulation and award. 

Unfortunately, you do not receive a lump sum payment for your benefits, but you will receive compensation every two weeks. However, if you show a financial need or hardship, you could request a lump sum payment of all or part of your permanent disability. Nonetheless, you must persuade a Workers’ Compensation Judge that it would be in your best interest. Therefore, to characterize a Stipulation with a Request for an Award as a settlement needs to be more accurate. It is a resolution of benefits to date, and you still have help in the future. 

Is a Compromise and Release or a Stipulation with a Request for an Award better? 

There are critical differences in settling your workers’ compensation case in California. It depends on your situation.  

A Compromise and Release may be better if you want to control your medical care for your injury. It is also good if you prefer a lump sum payment for the value of your permanent disability and future medical treatment. You may even receive more money because you give up your future rights in exchange for cash.

A Stipulation with a Request for an Award is typically better if you would rather have a continued relationship with the insurance company and have them provide you with your future medical care. You can also reopen your injury claim within five years of the date of injury if your injury worsens. A Stipulation with a Request for an Award is a quick and easy way to settle your case while protecting your rights. 

What can Stockton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, P.C. do?

There are pros and cons to a Compromise and Release and a Stipulation with a Request for an Award. A workers’ compensation attorney in Stockton, California, can help you decide which is better for your situation. Don’t hesitate to contact a Stockton workers’ compensation attorney today if you have any questions about the workers’ compensation settlement process.