Workers' Compensation Settlements in California

WORKERS' COMPENSATION

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Most people never have to go to court if they have been hurt or injured on the job and are seeking benefits. It can be confusing to understand whether you will receive a workers’ compensation settlement in California to cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages and other needs. Here are some specific facts about how things often work in the Golden State.

What is a workers’ compensation settlement?

With some minor variations, when you settle with the workers’ compensation insurance provider with an attorney, you make an agreement that stipulates how much the insurance company will pay now and in the future. This includes a combination of lost wages due to temporary disability, medical bills for treatment and rehabilitation as well as permanent disability or job training.

Can workers’ compensation cases settle in California?

Yes, you can settle your case in one of two ways: a stipulation and award or a compromise and release. Both of these agreements are with the employer’s insurance company and are done in order to avoid costly litigation and lengthy delays in access to benefits.

How do I settle my workers’ compensation case?

Upon a doctor’s finding that you are permanent and stationary, he calculates your permanent disability and future medical care.  The permanent disability, retroactive temporary disability, and future medical care equates to a monetary value for which you can reach settlement of your case.

Alternative Settlement Agreements

There are two types of workers’ compensation settlements in California that your attorney may recommend in order to limit protracted litigation: stipulation and award or compromise and release. The key difference between the two is what the insurance provider is required to pay further down the road.

Compromise and Release

You can resolve your case with a lump sum settlement called a Compromise and Release (C&R). A C&R may be best when you want to control your own medical treatment and/or you want a lump sum payment for your PD. A C&R usually means that after you get the lump sum payment approved by the workers’ compensation judge, the insurance company will not be liable for any further payments or medical care. After a C&R payment is issued, the workers compensation case is considered closed.

Stipulated Award

With a Stipulation with Request for Award, you leave your future medical care open and you continue to be entitled to ongoing medical care if your doctor has stated that you require such care. You also agree to a permanent disability based on the doctor’s rating, the temporary disability period, and whether you require ongoing medical care. A stipulation is normally the only type of settlement used when you continue to work for the same employer, and it is normally the only way to resolve your case where the insurance carrier continues to be responsible for paying for your ongoing medical care. 

What if a workers’ compensation claim was denied?

Unfortunately, an insurance company that sees one of its medical examiners deny your claim initially will be less likely to settle. They do not believe that a workers’ compensation settlement is likely and are willing to consider the possibility of further litigation. However, with the help of experienced litigators, you may be able to generate further evidence in support of your claim. It does make it far less likely that you will receive a stipulation and award, where the insurance company is responsible for future medical care.

Determining the right kind of workers’ compensation settlement

The best workers’ compensation settlement depends on your injury’s severity, the likelihood of permanent disability and a variety of other factors. The California Work Injury Law Center has worked with hundreds of clients like you over the past decade, and we understand that each case is different and personal.

Generally speaking, we recommend seeking a stipulation and award settlement when our clients are still at risk for future re-injury or their condition has not stabilized. This provides peace of mind in the event of future deterioration in your condition.

Other clients have pressing economic needs or have suffered injuries that will resolve in a relatively short amount of time. The urgency of their circumstances may make a compromise and release the more valuable option as the money can be used immediately upon signing the agreement.

When to contact a lawyer

If you have any doubts that your interests and rights are being protected, a lawyer can help you understand whether a workers’ compensation settlement makes sense given your condition and other factors. Since they see many more offers because of working with dozens of clients, they can suggest whether an insurance company is trying to lowball you or make an otherwise unfair offer.

In addition, if you have received an initial denial, you may still be eligible for at least one kind of workers compensation settlement in California. An experienced workers injury attorney can help build a case that will give you the best chance of of obtaining the benefits that you deserve.

For a no-cost consultation with the California Work Injury Law Center, fill out the short form or call us today at 949-557-7248 for a free, confidential consultation. We don’t get paid unless you do, and we look forward to serving you.