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Resolving Maryland Workers’ Compensation Cases: Settlement Versus Stipulation

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Posted On 12.21.12 by in Workers' Compensation

 

When a Maryland workers’ compensation claimant is ready to resolve his claim, his lawyer may explore the possibilities of stipulation and settlement.  These are two of the three ways to resolve claims of permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) (the other is by a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission).

What is Permanent Partial Disability?

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) is a disability that is expected to continue for the worker’s life, though it is not a complete disability.  It may not impede the worker’s ability to earn a living, and may not even cause any further lost wages.  Essentially, this is the permanent injury for which the worker seeks an “award.”

Stipulating to a PPD Award

The important thing about a stipulation is that it leaves the case open to the claimant.  When an employer, insurance company and worker stipulate to an award, they agree that:

  1. The worker has a permanent disability
  2. The worker will receive an agreed-upon award
  3. A hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner is not necessary
  4. The worker can reopen the claim (as long as it is done within the five year limitation period)
  5. The worker can receive related medical treatment for the rest of his life

Settling a PPD Award

Unlike a stipulation, the primary feature of a settlement is that it completely ends the case.  A settlement may be worth more to a worker in the short term, because the insurance company will likely pay more to ensure that they have no more exposure.  The key factors in a settlement are:

  1. The worker has a permanent disability
  2. The worker will receive an agreed-upon award
  3. A hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner is not necessary
  4. The worker may not reopen the claim
  5. The insurance company is not required to pay for any related medical treatment for the rest of the worker’s life (unless the agreement specifies the scope of acceptable treatment)

Finalizing A Stipulation Or Settlement

The Workers’ Compensation Commission must approve all settlements and stipulations.  The Commission will more closely look at agreements made by workers who do not have the help of an attorney.  This is especially true with regard to settlements, in which the workers give up all future rights.

Contact Us

Our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers can advise you about whether you should seek a stipulation or settlement of your workers’ compensation claim.  Contact us at 1-800-776-4529, or send us an online request for consultation.

More Maryland Worker’s Compensation Information

 

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