I have been involved in thousands of workers compensation settlements over the past two decades. Having represented employers and insurers in the past and now that I represent exclusively injured workers I can tell you that both sides enter a settlement for many of the same reasons. The first reason is that on any given day the best case can be won at hearing and just the opposite is true on some occasions. The facts demonstrate that the vast majority of litigated files in Minnesota settle before actually going to hearing. The main reason is as noted above, anything can happen and with a settlement both sides get something they desire; resolution of the claim with a predicted and assured outcome. This is something that doesn’t happen at a hearing. There is a winner and a loser and explaining to an injured worker who walked away from a $100,000 settlement offer that as the result of the hearing they get nothing is difficult.
Most settlements are obtained through the following methods: normal settlement discussions among the parties; through a mandatory settlement conference at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings; or mediation with the assistance of a privately hired mediator, MN Department of Labor and Industry mediator or on the rare occasion with and Administrative Law Judge at OAH (Office of Administrative Hearings).
If the parties are unsuccessful the case usually proceeds directly to a hearing within 60-90 days. If a workers’ compensation settlement is reached then settlement papers are drafted, the parties (including you the employee and your attorney) sign the settlement papers and then the agreement is forwarded to an OAH Administratie Law Judge for review and issuance of an Award on Stipulation. Payment under the settlement must be MAILED 14 calendar days following the settlement.
If you are not represented by an attorney it is very likely that signing an agreement on your own is an enormous mistake. I don’t say this because I or any other attorney wants to take your money. You are giving up rights that you don’t fully understand. More importantly I have ALWAYS been able to obtain more money for my clients than they were offered before being retained.
I encourage you to contact Atkinson Gerber Law Office today to discuss how we can assist you.