Settlement agreements are also known as ‘Compromise and Release’ and ‘Stipulation and Award.’
In both cases, injured workers receive compensation for the level of permanent disability from the workplace accident.
- A lump sum payment of the value of future medical care
- Agreeing to have the insurance company offer future medical care for your injury for the rest of your life.
If you’ve been in a workplace accident, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. A California personal injury lawyer from Ehline Law Firm can help you with this!
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
This is the amount that an injured worker receives after being involved in a workplace accident. A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement on the medical benefits that the victim will be entitled to.
Let’s take a look at some of these benefits:
- Temporary disability benefits – Lost wages
- Permanent disability benefits – Permanent damage to the body
- Medical benefits – Medical treatment for any injuries.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If the injured worker is unable to work because of sustained injuries, they will receive these benefits for lost wages.
This is normally paid soon after the accident rather than later because once the injured worker has stabilized, they will be able to return to work.
However, there is an exception to the rule. If the insurance provider refuses to accept that the injury occurred, they would not have paid this benefit. Therefore, the sum of the lost wages will be included in the workers’ comp settlement.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If the victim’s condition has stabilized, but their injury has not or is not likely to improve, they will receive this type of benefit.
Therefore, permanent disability payments are for permanent damage to the body. Furthermore, it is given as a percentage rating of disability and is based on the medical report.
The insurance company needs to start paying for permanent disability as soon as it stops paying for temporary disability. Based on the level of disability, it is paid at a fixed amount over a specified period of time.
Future Medical Care
The medical report doesn’t only state the level of permanent disability; it also estimates the future medical treatment the injured worker will need. This cash value is estimated based on the type of treatment the injured employee is receiving.
Can You Settle Workers’ Compensation Cases in California?
Yes, these cases can be finalized in one of two ways:
- The voluntary settlement between the insurance company and the injured employee
- A judicial decision at a trial.
A voluntary settlement can be broken down further into:
- Compromise and Release
- Stipulation and Award.
In general, the injured worker will only settle the claim once they have stabilized, and their condition is not expected to change within a year. The doctor will decide on this and whether the employee will need any future medical care.
Many times, California workers’ compensation settlements are only reached once the employee goes back to work.
Furthermore, it is still possible to receive these disability benefits once the case has been settled.
What’s the Average Settlement (Compromise) Agreement Pay-out in California?
There is no average amount. Each settlement amount will depend on the injured worker’s circumstances. The extent of the injuries and the type of accident will impact the amount of the claim.
Furthermore, the amount received will also depend on whether the injured worker chooses a Compromise and Release or Stipulation and Reward settlement.
What Is a Compromise and Release?
A Comprise and Release covers the following:
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Injured parts of the body
- Future medical care
- The right to claim more disability.
Many people see this as a settlement of a legal case since the insurance provider pays the injured employee to end the lawsuit.
Once the payment has been made, the two parties don’t have any reason to interact with one another. The only agreement that needs to be reached is on the settlement amount. This is where a Compromise and Release and Stipulated Award differ. In a Stipulated Award, both parties have to agree on an amount regarding each issue.
When it comes to a Compromise and Release, the injured employee receives a lump sum settlement based on the future medical expenses. The doctor will provide guidance relating to this matter.
What Is a Stipulation and Reward?
A Stipulation and Award can be used to settle the following matters:
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Injured parts of the body that will need medical treatment in the future.
This can be compared to a judge’s decision. The judge approves the decision made on each of the above issues, which is exactly what the injured worker and insurance company do in a Stipulated Award.
Future medical costs do not impact the value of a Stipulated Award since it does not form part of the settlement.
What Are the Differences Between a Compromise and Release and a Stipulation and Award?
Now that we’ve looked at a general overview of these two concepts, let’s break down the differences between them:
Ability to Receive Continued Medical Care
Under a Compromise and Release, the employee is allowed to ask the insurance provider for one payment instead of payments at regular intervals for future medical care. This lump sum payment includes an estimate of future medical care; therefore, the employee will be responsible for their own medical treatment once they receive the settlement amount.
One of the characteristics of a Stipulation and Reward is that the injured worker may receive lifetime medical care for injury to parts of the body. Therefore, the individual will be able to receive medical care if a doctor deems it necessary.
Ability to Reopen the Claim
When it comes to a Compromise and Release, the injured worker is essentially saying that they would prefer to receive a cash payment rather than have the ability to reopen the workers’ comp claim.
However, when settling with Stipulations and Rewards, the employee has the ability to reopen the claim within five years of the date of the accident.
Lump Sum Payment
In a Compromise and Release settlement agreement, the lump sum will be paid to be injured worker within 30 days.
However, if the employee is being paid under a Stipulated and Award settlement, they will receive the specified cash amount on a weekly or biweekly basis. The injured worker will not receive a lump sum payment.
Ability to Keep Your Job
Many insurance companies will refuse the person’s Compromise and Release claim if they’re still working for the same employer. This all relates back to the future medical care.
By continuing to work for the same employer, the injured employee could file a new workers’ compensation claim for the same part of the body at a later date, which would mean the insurance provider would have to pay twice.
The insurance company will try to avoid this at all costs.
Since the insurance company is paying the injured worker for lifetime medical care in a Stipulation and Reward, the employee will not be able to file another claim for the same body part.
Contact Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys Today!
Are you struggling to get a fair payment for your workers’ comp injury claim? If you’re involved in a workers’ comp case, the compassionate and experienced attorneys at Ehline Law Firm are here to help. We’ll fight aggressively for your rights so that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact us today at 833 LETS-SUE for a free consultation.
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Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.
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