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September 21, 2014

How Many Pieces Go Into a Settlement?

Summary:

Here is a checklist of those issues that can be part of the give and take of negotiations in workers' compensation cases.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Question: How many pieces are involved in a workers’ compensation settlement?

Answer: Probably more than you think.

The more issues there are in a negotiation, the greater the opportunity for give and take. This adds flexibility for parties to shape a settlement acceptable to all. Trading across issues in negotiation is called “logrolling.”

Every case has its own unique issues. Here is a partial list, some obvious, some I have seen people miss.

Income issues

Disability percentage, including whether the disability is caused by an industrial injury

Apportionment

Applicable date of injury

Past payments: When were permanent disability payments supposed to start? Was the right rate used? Were past payments properly characterized as permanent disability (PD), or should they have been temporary disability (TD)? Is there a TD overpayment?

If life pension payments will be due, when should they start?

Average weekly wage: Have you taken into account overtime and the value of non-cash compensation?

Ability to perform future work

Return-to-work issues: Will the employer provide modified work?

What about training? Check California law about computer purchases.

Liens

Penalties

Medical issues

What are the accepted body parts?

What expenses are reasonable and necessary? This can include issues about support services.

What is the appropriate medical specialty?

Is the treatment the applicant wants compensable?

Is the applicant’s overall medical condition likely to shorten life expectancy?

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About the Author

Teddy Snyder mediates workers’ compensation cases throughout California through WCMediator.com. An attorney since 1977, she has concentrated on claim settlement for more than 19 years. Her motto is, “Stop fooling around and just settle the case.”

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