Not all workers’ compensation claims that are accepted and granted are settled in the same way. A common way of settling worker’s compensation claims is Compromise & Release, or C&R for short. Other types include Stipulation and Award and Commutation. We will provide an overview of the basic considerations when it comes to Compromise and Release.
How does Compromise and Release differ from other types of settlements?
Compromise and Release is a one-time lump sum payment made to the injured worker by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This lump sum monetary settlement buys out any and all issues and benefits in the worker’s case. When the settlement is final, the case cannot be reopened. The idea is that the insurance company will make a projection of future medical care costs and cover them in the payment. If the worker’s injury or condition worsens in the future, the worker cannot ask for any more benefits to pay for medical care. If the worker sustains another, unrelated injury, they can file a different work comp claim, but they cannot reopen the claim that was settled through Compromise and Release.
What are the advantages of C&R for the worker?
Many injured workers prefer this settlement over other types, such as Stipulation and Award, in which the payments are spread out over a period of time and the claim can be reopened if the condition worsens. Some of the advantages of Compromise and Release are:
- The employee is in control of how the money is spent.
- They can make investments with the settlement money.
- They can choose doctors, rather than visit those that are in the insurance carrier’s Medical Provider Network (as is the case with Stipulation and Award).
- They don’t have to worry that doctor’s decision could cost them benefits (which can happen in Stipulation and Award).
- They don’t have to make treatment requests that go through Utilization Review and/or Independent Medical Review, since the injured worker is no longer in the system of workers’ compensation.
- They can finance further education or retrain to work in another industry.
- They can leave some of the settlement money to their heirs, should the injuries ultimately prove fatal.
What are the advantages of C&R for the employer/insurance company?
Compromise and Release holds some advantages for the employer and their insurance carrier as well. Their biggest interest lies in the fact that they assume this lump sum payment would prove less than payments on a schedule in the long run. Next, they also get to put a fixed value on the claim, which facilitates their accounting. This type of settlement is also preferred when the issues in the case are highly disputed.
Don’t risk it – get the help of experienced workers’ compensation lawyer!
Even when the settlement offer seems to be in your favor, you should always seek the services of a reliable, trustworthy and experienced work comp attorney. What appears like a good offer now, may be insufficient to cover your future medical expenses, since you are unable to predict with certainty the amount of medical care you’ll need in the future. Don’t risk accepting a settlement that is lower than what you deserve. Reach out to an aggressive, ethical and experienced work injury lawyer and protect your rights. Bear in mind that a large number of these professionals work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you really have nothing to lose if you retain their services. You can only gain by hiring a skilled workers’ compensation attorney!