Workers’ Compensation Settlements in Tulare County

After sustaining injuries at work and filing for workers’ compensation benefits, people may want to resolve the claim by taking a settlement. The state’s workers’ compensation statutes provide two options for settling: stipulation and award or compromise and release.

Before agreeing to any settlements, understanding the process and your rights ensures you do what is best for your situation. A hard-working attorney seasoned in workers’ compensation settlements in Tulare County could review your options and help determine the steps to take.

Securing Compensation Before MMI

Most people collecting workers’ compensation benefits decide to settle the case. A worker can settle the claim at any point. However, they must consider crucial aspects before settling, ensuring they receive the total benefits the statute entitles them to collect. One essential element is waiting until they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and can accurately estimate the total value of their claim.

The treating physician will issue the MMI report once they feel the patient is stable and they do not expect further improvement. Settling workers’ compensation claims in Tulare County before reaching MMI could mean losing benefits to cover medical care if the disability is more severe than they believe at the time of settlement.

Workers’ Compensation Settlement Options

When an employee in Tulare County is ready to settle their workers’ comp claim, they have two options to learn about to decide which is best for their situation.

Compromise and Release

A Compromise and Release settlement requires individuals to agree to relinquish their rights for ongoing workers’ comp benefits and receive a lump sum payment from the insurance provider. After finalizing the settlement agreement, they are ineligible to receive additional medical treatment payments, even when the injury worsens. The settlement is final, so ensuring their condition is stable and that the lump sum will cover all current and future medical care is crucial.

Stipulations With Request for Award

A Stipulation with a Request for Award settlement requires the individual to agree with the insurance provider on the scope of the injuries and permanent disability. After settling, the provider will continue paying for medical care, and the worker will receive biweekly payments for a predetermined amount of time instead of a lump sum settlement. Unlike a compromise and release, when the disability worsens within five years of settling, the individual may be able to reopen the claim.

Workers’ Compensation Settlement Approval

After the person and insurance provider agree on the terms of the settlement, they will need approval before finalizing the arrangement. According to California Insurance Code § 10700, the individual must file the paperwork, including the applicable settlement form, medical records, and evaluator reports, with the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

There may be an informal hearing to review the conditions, and then the judge will issue the approval or denial. Once approved, it typically takes about 30 days to receive payment. An experienced lawyer in Tulare County could provide legal guidance to complete the required steps and avoid delays in a workers’ compensation settlement.

Speak With an Attorney Knowledgeable About Tulare County Workers’ Compensation Settlements

While the workers’ compensation settlement process sounds straightforward, issues or hurdles often appear that can cause long delays or other problems. Understanding your rights and responsibilities before finalizing an arrangement is vital to ensure you receive the benefits the laws entitle you to collect.

A diligent lawyer skilled with workers’ compensation settlements in Tulare County understands the process, could protect your best interests, and handle the filings and negotiations on your behalf. Call today to speak with one of our friendly and multilingual staff.