Last month, we discussed some pros and cons about settling your workers’ compensation case versus going to trial. Now we will offer some basic knowledge about types of settlements you may need to consider. Types of settlements include: 1. Stipulations With Request For Award; 2. Compromise And Release; and 3. Findings And Award.
This week, we will discuss the settlement in a California workers’ compensation case known as Stipulations With Request For Award, or “Stips.”
The Stipulations With Request For Award settlement documents must be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”) judge. The judge approves the Stips by signing an order form called a Stipulation With Award (“Stipulated Award”). The parties in the Stips agree to all terms of the settlement.
One of the biggest advantages of settling by Stips is typically there is an agreement to open lifetime future medical care for the industrial body parts/medical conditions found to be industrial by the workers’ compensation doctor(s). The right to open lifetime future medical care gives the injured worker the right to make a demand on the employer or claims administrator of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to provide treatment to the injured worker through the workers’ compensation system for the remainder of the injured worker’s life.
The other major advantage to settling by Stips is that the injured worker has the right to file a Petition To Reopen (“PTRO”) the Stipulated Award with the WCAB within 5 years of the date of the injury for new and further disability in the event the injured workers’ condition deteriorates. If the settlement occurs more than 5 years from the date of injury, then the Stips cannot be reopened and the settlement is final as to the body parts/medical conditions for future medical care, level of permanent disability, and temporary disability periods.
Settlement by Stips is often preferred where the injured worker’s biggest concern is having open lifetime future medical care with the right to make the demand that treatment be paid for and provided by the employer or workers’ compensation carrier.
Generally, the monetary recovery in a Stipulated Award settlement is lower than a lump sum settlement by Compromise and Release. This is because the future medical care is not being settled out in the Stips for a lump sum settlement of money. Entering into a Stipulated Award by an injured worker is done with the understanding that money may not be the main goal in the case and that the primary benefit is open lifetime future medical care for the industrial body parts/medical conditions. A Stipulated Award is often used when there is a general agreement by the parties as to the issues and benefits owing in the case based off of the medical reports by the workers’ compensation doctor(s).
In a Stipulated Award, the injured worker remains in the workers’ compensation system. This means that the right to lifetime future medical care remains open, but may be limited to treatment with medical providers in the employer or claims administrator’s Medical Provider Network (“MPN”). The right to treatment remains subject to the employer or claims administrator’s Utilization Review process.
Ford & Wallach are Trusted and Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Los Angeles
The attorneys at Ford & Wallach are on your side. We service the greater Los Angeles area, San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, Santa Clarita, Long Beach, the Inland Empire, Ventura and Orange County. We will strategically guide you through the California workers’ compensation process. Free case evaluations are offered. Contact us us at 213.380.3140.