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Effective Resolution of a Workers' Compensation Claim - II

The previous post discussed how strong negotiation skills are a vital component of any effective workers' compensation defense. Today's post will continue this discussion by exploring a few issues that attorneys will generally consider upon the successful conclusion of negotiations regarding an injured employee.

(See "Effective Resolution of a Workers' Compensation Claim - I" for more information)
 
Please note, the following post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have pressing questions or concerns regarding a workers' compensation issue, you should strongly consider speaking with a legal professional.

Important Settlement Considerations

• Once negotiations have reached a conclusion, the attorney should ensure that all necessary documents are completed. The number of forms that need to be completed and the information required varies from state to state. 

Nevertheless, the documents should generally address the following issues in order to avoid any future legal problems:

  • Current and future indemnity benefits  
  • Current and future medical benefits

Please note, in the state of California, an employee must complete a "Compromise and Release" (C&R) in order to receive lump sum payments for any future medical expenses. The C&R will subsequently need to reviewed and approved by a workers' compensation judge.

• In the event the injured employee will not be returning to their prior employment, the attorney will likely have to ensure that the settlement documents include some variation on the following language: "to be a complete, entire and final release and waiver of any and all rights to any and all past, present and future benefits."

In addition, the settlement documents will also likely have to include language indicating that the decision by the employee not to return to their prior employment was voluntary.

• The attorney will also need to consider whether the settlement documents include language that prevents the employee from pursuing a civil action related to their injuries. For example, if a worker claimed a psychological injury related to sexual harassment and the settlement did not preclude them from pursuing a civil action, the worker could hypothetically pursue additional compensation in the form of damages from a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Stay tuned for future posts discussing any news or developments in the area of workers' compensation defense ...

Related Resources: 
• Claims Resolution and Settlements: Knowing When and How to Settle a Workers Compensation Claim (WorkersCompensation.com)

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