Workers’ compensation benefits in California can be awarded in one of two ways in most situations: “compromise and release” or “stipulated findings and award.” Which of these should you try to get for your workers’ compensation case? Or does it not really matter?
To begin, “compromise and release” uses an agreement that you will be paid your benefits in one lump-sum payment or package. Once you receive it, you cannot seek more benefits later for any reason. Oppositely, “stipulated findings and award” provides benefits and payments on a set schedule, but it allows you to request frequent reviews of your condition to see if more benefits are needed. Knowing this, which one is right for you?
Pros of “Compromise & Release”
Many workers’ compensation cases that are disputed and end in favor of the claimant will use “compromise and release” agreements. Insurers that agree to settle a case want to put it behind them, so they tend to favor this form of payment over “stipulated findings and award.”
Using “compromise and release” can be good for you, too. It can bring great peace of mind to know that you are getting an agreed-upon amount, and nothing can change it, even if the insurer decides to dispute the details of your claim later. You can also enjoy immediate and significant financial support from a lump-sum award, rather than waiting for benefits each month or so. If you’re in a real bad spot for money after a work accident, then using a “compromise and release” agreement to get your benefits all at once might be the best way to go. But it always helps to review things with a workers’ comp lawyer.
Cons of “Compromise & Release”
The worst downside of using a “compromise and release” agreement is that it doesn’t consider how your work injury or disability could worsen in the future. You cannot get more and new benefits later if your prognosis changes unexpectedly. Depending on the type of injury you have suffered and how this has impacted your day-to-day life, not getting updated benefits could be a huge problem and a source of dramatic financial distress.
You should probably not use a “compromise and release” agreement if your medical condition isn’t fully understood or if it could be prone to worsening, even with adequate medical care. Again, you can feel the most confident in your decision if you speak with a workers’ compensation attorney first.
Alvandi Law Group helps injured workers from Los Angeles and Orange County with complex workers’ comp cases and denials. Contact us now if you need our help with your case, or to decide what type of payment package works best for you.