January 20, 2014

Oregon Workers' Compensation Settlements - What is a Stipulation?

Stipulation (Stipulated Settlement)

A Stipulation is a type of workers' compensation settlement that generally settles a time loss or other benefits dispute, or that confirms a reversal of a workers' compensation denial.  Most importantly, a Stipulation is not a complete settlement of an accepted or denied claim.  In other words, it will not make a claim go away.  Rather, it resolves a small portion of a claim - a dispute within a claim, not the whole claim.

Time Loss Stipulations

If you have pending litigation dealing with time loss, a Stipulation is used to resolve the litigation prior to hearing.  These types of disputes generally involve the time loss rate, entitlement to time loss, penalties for late payment of time loss, and attorney fees.  For example, you may have filed a Request for Hearing alleging your time loss rate should be higher, that you are owed $1,000 in late time loss, and that you should receive a 25 percent penalty.  Assuming the insurer agrees they were in the wrong, this dispute would be resolved with a Stipulation.  The Stipulation would be a signed document confirming the agreed-upon time loss rate, the amount owed, and any penalties due.  It would also clarify that it resolved the pending 
litigation so there would no longer be a need for a hearing.

Reversal of Denial Stipulations

Another common type of Stipulation involves reversing a denial of your claim or a denial of a new medical condition claim.  For example,you may have received a denial of your workers' compensation claim and appealed it.  If, prior to the hearing date, the insurer decides to reverse the denial, they will do so via a Stipulation.  Basically, the Stipulation would confirm the insurer is going to accept the claim and pay your attorney their fee.  It would also clarify that it resolved the pending litigation so there would no longer be a need for a hearing.

Attorney Fees and Costs

Attorney fees in Stipulations generally do not come out of your benefits.  They are generally accounted for separately and paid separately, although they will be noted in the Stipulation.  For example, if your Stipulation grants you an amount of unpaid time loss, your attorney will not be entitled to a portion of that owed time loss.  Rather, they will be granted a separate dollar amount as their fee.

Likewise, if your Stipulation deals with a reversal of a denial, the attorney will be granted an attorney fee within the document.  But, they will not be entitled to any percentage of the benefits you will receive for having an accepted claim.

Do You Need and Attorney to Settle Your Workers' Compensation Claim?

Yes.  It is always a good idea to have an attorney help you settle your workers' compensation claim.  The attorney will help you get a better settlement and make sure you do not give up more rights than you should.

Will my Workers' Compensation Settlement be Taxed?

No, proceeds from your workers' compensation settlement will not be taxed.  Under Oregon law, it is not considered taxable income.

If you have questions about settling your workers' compensation claim, call us for a free consultation: (503) 975-5535.

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