When you’ve been injured on the job and left with any kind of permanent disability rating, there are two basic methods of settling your claim: “Stipulation and Award” or “Compromise and Release (C&R).”
Understanding the difference between the two, and the pros and cons of each is the best way to make an informed decision.
Settling through stipulations
This is generally the quickest, easiest way to settle your claim. Via Stipulations, you get paid a set amount for your permanent disability rating (whatever that may be) and nothing more. The money will be paid biweekly until it’s all disbursed, not in a lump sum.
You do, however, retain the right to access medical care on the insurance company’s tab for whatever body part(s) are affected by your injury. Plus, if your disability rating is high enough (70% or more) to receive a life pension, your rights to those future benefits are fully protected. You can also apply for additional payments if your condition worsens within five years.
Settling through C&R
If you take a C&R settlement, you generally get more money than you would through a stipulated settlement — and it’s paid in a lump-sum. Included in the settlement is an estimated amount for any future medical expenses related to your injuries.
However, this means that your claim is over. You no longer have access to medical care through the workers’ comp insurer for your injuries, even if your condition worsens. The claim cannot be reopened except in very rare situations.
Every situation is different. Nobody can force you to sell your right to medical care and accept a C&R, but many people don’t like waiting around for a relatively small sum every two weeks for months or years at a time. If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim, don’t let anybody rush you into a decision.