Occasionally, a worker who has been injured on the job will have a serious injury that will leave the worker permanently disabled, for which will need a workers’ compensation claim. In such cases, the health of an injured worker might fluctuate over time in ways that are difficult to predict in the present. In workers’ compensation disputes, a stipulation agreement is especially important when there is uncertainty regarding the prognosis of a medical condition.
What is a stipulation?
A stipulation is a type of workers’ compensation settlement that often resolves a disagreement about lost time or other benefits or affirms the reversal of a previous rejection of benefits. In particular, a stipulation does not constitute a final settlement of an accepted or denied claim. Put another way, it won’t make a claim disappear. Rather, it settles an issue within a claim, rather than the entire claim itself.
Why should you consider entering into a stipulation agreement?
If you want to ensure that you can continue to receive treatment for your injuries in the future, you must consider entering into a stipulation agreement. The right to receive future medical care is a major issue for many injured workers. Your primary priority should be entering into a stipulation agreement if you want to ensure that you will receive future medical care for your injuries and have the right to demand that your employer or claims administrator pay for your treatment.
Advantages and disadvantages of opting to enter into a stipulation agreement
Advantages: For most workers who are injured on the job, the most significant benefit of stipulation agreements is that they allow them to receive lifetime medical care for their injuries. You have the right to insist that your employer or the claims administrator pay for all future medical care related to your injury. Your employer or the claims administrator may be responsible for footing the bill for your medical care if the two of you enter into a stipulation agreement. Moreover, if the worker’s injury worsens after signing the stipulation agreement, the case can be reopened. However, depending on the terms of your agreement, the time limit for reopening your case is often five years from the date of your injury.
Disadvantages: One major drawback of stipulation agreements is that the monetary judgment is typically lower than in other dispute resolution methods. Stipulations typically include provisions for periodic payments to offset some of the injured worker’s lost wages, as opposed to settlements, which result in a larger lump sum payment. However, when deciding to opt for a stipulation agreement instead of another form of settlement, you should weigh the impact of a smaller monetary reward against the certainty of receiving lifetime medical care.
Types of stipulations
Time Loss Stipulation
The first type of stipulation is a stipulation which is used to settle time loss litigation before it goes to court. Time loss rates, eligibility for time loss, penalties for late payment of time loss, and legal expenses are common points of contention in these cases. The Stipulation would be an agreement between the parties that formalizes the terms of the time loss rate, the amount owing, and any penalties that may apply. It would also make it clear that the litigation was settled, and no further hearing is necessary.
Reversal of Denial Stipulation
The second type of stipulation is used for reversing a claim or new medical condition denial. If the insurance company decides to withdraw its denial of coverage before the scheduled hearing, it will do so by this type of stipulation. The insurer’s acceptance of the claim and payment of your attorney’s fee would be confirmed by the stipulation. It would also make it clear that the litigation was settled, eliminating the necessity for a hearing.
Our experienced Oregon workers’ compensation attorneys at Aldrich Law have over 12 years of expertise in workers’ compensation matters. If you are unclear about the best stipulation for your case, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Aldrich Legal can gladly consult with you and help you throughout your stipulation settlement process. Our experienced Oregon workers’ compensation attorneys can be contacted here.
FAQs: Stipulation Agreements in Workers' Compensation
What is a stipulation agreement in workers' compensation? A stipulation agreement in workers' compensation is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by the injured worker and the workers' compensation insurance carrier. It typically includes details regarding the extent of the worker's injury, the benefits they are entitled to receive, and any other relevant provisions.
Why would someone consider entering into a stipulation agreement?
An injured worker may consider entering into a stipulation agreement to resolve their workers' compensation claim in a mutually agreeable manner. It provides a structured framework for determining the worker's benefits, including medical treatment, disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and other potential entitlements.
How is a stipulation agreement reached?
The process of reaching a stipulation agreement involves negotiation between the injured worker, their legal representative (if applicable), and the workers' compensation insurance carrier or its representative. The parties discuss and agree upon various aspects of the claim, such as the nature and extent of the injury, the worker's ability to return to work, and the amount of compensation to be provided.
What factors should be considered before entering into a stipulation agreement?
Before entering into a stipulation agreement, it is important to consider factors such as the extent of the worker's injury, the anticipated future medical needs, the worker's ability to return to work, the potential for vocational rehabilitation, and the adequacy of the compensation being offered. Consulting with an attorney experienced in workers' compensation law is advisable to ensure a fair and comprehensive agreement.
Can a stipulation agreement be modified or terminated?
In general, stipulation agreements are binding and can be difficult to modify once finalized. However, there may be circumstances where modifications are necessary, such as changes in the worker's medical condition or employment status. Termination of a stipulation agreement is also possible, but it usually requires substantial evidence and legal proceedings to establish the basis for termination.
What happens if a party fails to comply with the stipulation agreement?
If one party fails to comply with the terms of the stipulation agreement, the other party may seek legal remedies. This could involve filing a petition with the appropriate workers' compensation board or court to enforce the agreement or pursue other appropriate actions.