Getting injured at work would give you the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. This at times leads to disputes in the long run and could get quite messy. In order to avoid this, you can enter a settlement with your employer or its insurer. This settlement is basically the final settlement that outlines the benefits you will be getting from your employer or the insurance company.
According to the Arizona Workers Compensation Act, a final settlement is a “settlement in which the claimant waives any future entitlement to supportive care for known conditions in the agreement”. The final supportive care agreement covers undisputed entitlements to supportive care for conditions that are known at the time of the agreement. The parties can decide to include all undisputed supportive care or they can settle just a portion of it in the agreement. It should be noted that you cannot add potential supportive care for a new or potential condition not present at the time of the agreement. This is why “known condition” is a key word in the definition of this agreement.
There are a number of things that have to be included in the agreement. One of them is a statement of all the medical conditions subject to the agreement. The agreements should also have a summary of future supportive medical maintenance and the expected benefits costs. The agreement needs to contain an acknowledgement by the insurer of his duty to inform the physicians of the results of the settlement. The settlement should also state that the worker acknowledges the fact that costs stated in the settlement might not be different from the real costs. Finally, the settlement needs to state that there was no element of coercion involved in the formulation of the settlement.
The employer is still responsible for paying any undisputed supportive care that is not covered by the settlement. In addition, the employer is responsible for the payment of any undisputed supportive care prior to the signing of the agreement.
You should note that the workers’ compensation claim has to be closed before a settlement between both parties can be reached. Before your settlement can be valid and have the force of law, the Industrial Commission needs to approve it. In addition, an Administrative law judge needs to review and approve the settlement agreement on behalf of the commission in order for the process to be complete. You have the option to request a final hearing with the Administrative Law Judge regarding the settlement agreement. In addition, the Administrative Law Judge has the discretion to fix the date for further hearings regarding the settlement agreement.
A final supportive care settlement has its own fair share of complexities and loopholes. You would be shooting yourself in the foot if you go ahead with a settlement agreement without the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
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