Many times, we are sent a file because signed settlement documents have been rejected by the WCAB due to insufficient information. The WCJ either requests additional documentation or at times will set the matter for Hearing. In order to avoid this, here is a general list of what should be submitted with the settlement documents in an unrepresented case so as to further the chances of having the documents approved:
- A copy of the medical report on which the settlement is based
- A copy of a rating (DEU, private rater or your own personal rating)
- Benefit printout
- Wage statement if benefits were paid at less than maximum
- A Copy of Notice of Right to PQME
- If settlement is based on a PQME, provide copy of objection to report of PTP
- Notice of Offer of regular, modified or alternative work per LC 4658 for injuries after 1/1/05
- Affidavit regarding attempts at lien resolution
- Work Status of injured worker
- A completed Award to be signed by the WCJ
- Confirm the agreement has been signed by all parties with 2 witness signatures
- Include language indicating whether injured worker was advised of his/her right to settle by stipulated award
- Avoid a Carter’s/Rogers waiver or general release language. These are not allowed in a C&R on an in pro per case and will likely delay document approval
It is also beneficial to include the injured workers phone number in a cover letter to the Court. This will allow the I&A officer to telephone the injured worker to clarify certain issues, rather than have the I&A officer delay the approval process because of unanswered questions.
Also, it is of benefit to have a detailed phone call with the injured worker prior to submitting the documents. The injured worker needs to be aware of the ramifications of the particular settlement entered into. Settlement options need to be explained as well. Inform the injured worker of the walkthrough process and advise that the I&A Officer may be calling to discuss the nature of the settlement. Some Boards require the involvement of the I&A Officer on In Pro Per settlements so it is important that the applicant be fully informed prior to a potential call or meeting with the I&A Officer.