The Final Reports are In Now What Are My Options?

Once the final reports needed to settle your claim are received, your case is ready for settlement. There are generally two ways to settle a claim.

  1. Stipulations is an agreement on the amount of permanent disability. This method provides for permanent disability to be paid out biweekly at a rate determined by the amount of disability you have and your wages at the time of the injury. Payments continue until the full amount, less attorneys’ fees and less prior permanent disability advances, have been paid. You retain the right to future medical treatment for the body parts injured for the remainder of your life. Also, if your condition worsens, we may be able to reopen your claim for new and further disability.
  2. Compromise and Release (C&R) is a settlement for a lump sum. All your permanent disability is paid at one time and is higher than the amount you would receive in a Stipulation as the defendants pay additional money to buy out your right to future medical care and your right to reopen your case.

How you settle your case is your decision. Generally, people who have, or will have, access to a health care plan through their spouse or future employment will want to settle with a C&R. But, if you believe that your condition will continue to worsen over the next few years, you may want to settle with a Stipulation so you can reopen your case at a later date.

Settlement has Been Agreed Upon by Both Sides, Now What Happens?

A settlement in workers’ compensation does not become final until it has been reviewed and agreed upon by a Judge at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The general steps to finalize a settlement are as follows:

  1. Documents outlining the settlement are prepared by the insurance carrier or their attorney and sent to your attorney for review.
  2. If the documents are accurate, they will be sent to you for your signature. Once you have signed them and returned them to your attorney, the defendants’ signature is obtained.
  3. After all parties have signed the final paperwork, it is submitted to the Judge for approval either by mail, or by what is called a “walk through” of the settlement. A walk through is an informal appearance before a judge merely to obtain the “Order Approving” or “Award.” Generally, only one person appears for this approval, either your attorney or the insurance carrier’s.

My Case Is Settled, When Will I Receive Payment?

If your case has settled by Compromise and Release, you will receive your lump sum payment within 25 days from the date the Order Approving is received by the insurance carrier or their attorney.

If your case has settled by Stipulations and you were prior receiving permanent disability advances, there should be no change in your continued receipt of those benefits. The insurance carrier will continue to pay you on a bi-weekly basis until the full settlement value has been reached. However, if you are receiving Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance Allowance at the time of settlement, your permanent disability award will not begin being paid until you are no longer receiving the maintenance allowance.

I Received Payment on My Compromise and Release But it is Lower Than the Amount Agreed Upon.

You must remember that any permanent disability advances prior made by the defendants will be deducted from your overall settlement. There may also have been credits taken by the insurance carrier for an overpayment of temporary disability benefits or vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance. Your attorneys’ fees are also deducted from the settlement. If you still disagree with the deductions taken, you can request an Accounting of benefits and credits from the insurance carrier to compare with your records.

What If We Cannot Reach Agreement on Settlement?

If settlement cannot be reached voluntarily, a hearing may be requested before a judge at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. One or both parties may file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed. This document tells the court that that party is ready to reach a settlement agreement but there has been some problem with obtaining one without the court’s assistance. The other party can object to setting the matter for hearing, but unless there are very good grounds for denying the request for hearing, the court generally will set the case for a Mandatory Settlement Conference or Pre-Trial Conference within 30 days from the date they receive the request for hearing.

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  • C.D.
    WORKERS COMP CASE
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    There was excellent communication. If I didn’t understand something, Adam explained it. I was informed of what to be expected as the case was moving along. Very satisfied with the service.

  • J.R.
    WORKERS COMP CASE
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    I am very pleased with the services provided by Mehlhop & Vogt. The firm knows what they are doing and gets stuff done! I always felt respected and cared for. Adam always answered my questions right away and with great detail.

  • M.H.
    WORKERS COMP CASE
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    I liked the way Mr. Mehlhop handled my case, he was very professional at all times. I feel like he did the best he could considering my wages.

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