The Workers’ Compensation Act provides that an employee’s workers’ compensation claim may be resolved, in whole or in part, through a Compromise and Release of your workers’ compensation benefits. “Compromise and Release” is the name given to the settlement documents when you settle your claim. The settlement is referred to as a “C&R”.
C&R settlements provide you with a lump sum payment in exchange for some, or all, of your workers’ compensation benefits. A lump sum settlement may include future workers compensation payments for lost wages, future medical benefits, or both. Typically, most insurance companies want a full and final settlement of your claim, including both wage claims and medical claims.
Any C&R settlement is binding and cannot be set-aside or re-opened.
If you are receiving benefits, you need to fully understand the impact(s) of resolving your claim through a C&R.
As noted, most C&Rs result in a full release from liability to all claims arising out of a given injury. However, in some instances, the insurance company may want to settle only a portion of your claim. Examples of a partial compromise or settlement of your claim may include:
- Release of liability for your ongoing wage payments only, leaving your claim to continued treatments open for a period of time.
- Release of liability for normal benefits, reserving a claim for serious and willful misconduct of the employer, or vice versa.
- Release of the insurance carrier only, when insurance coverage is in doubt, reserving the right to proceed against the employer.
- Release of less than all of the employers or insurance companies in a cumulative injury or occupational disease case.
Any agreement to settle your Workers’ Compensation claim through a C&R is not valid or binding until a Workers’ Compensation Judge approves the settlement. Once approved, a valid C&R agreement is final and binding on the parties.
The decision to settle your Workers’ Compensation claim through a C&R is serious. You must fully comprehend what you are receiving in the settlement and what rights you are giving up. If you are considering a settlement of your Workers’ Compensation claim, please contact Stark & Stark’s Workers’ Compensation attorneys immediately to discuss your rights.