In some worker’s compensation cases, the injured employee has suffered some form of permanent disability, as the result of a complex injury. In those types of cases, the injured employee’s medical condition is likely to change as time passes, often in unforeseen ways. In these situations, where there is a question or concern about the future status of your medical condition, it is crucial that you obtain a Stipulation agreement in workers comp cases. That way you can protect your rights and ensure that you can obtain future medical care.
What are PPD benefits and how do they affect my claim?
Permanent partial disability (PPD) claims are actually the most common type of workers’ compensation cases. They make up more than 50% of all workers’ comp claims in the United States. These types of claims are typically caused by either a work-related injury or an occupational disease. In order for your claim to be considered a PPD claim, there must be some form of permanent impairment, which makes you unable to perform at your full capacity. These types of claims are different from total disability claims, where the employee cannot work at all.
How can I receive PPD benefits?
In the Worker’s Compensation arena, the employee (or Claimant) can reach an agreement with the employer’s insurer, with respect to permanent partial disability benefits. This can be accomplished in three different ways: a settlement, an order from the Worker’s Compensation Commission, or a stipulation. There are significant differences between a settlement and a stipulation.
Why should I stipulate?
Most workers’ compensation cases are resolved by Stipulation. When parties stipulate to a PPD award, they are stipulating to the degree of disability, as well as the employee’s entitlement to future medical care, to be covered by his or her employer’s worker’s compensation insurance. This is the only way to protect your rights to future medical care for your injuries.
What does a stipulation provide?
With a Stipulation, you are entitled to reopen your case within 5 years of your date of injury to obtain additional benefit for new and further disability. Temporary disability, however, is limited depending on the date of injury. When the parties establish a stipulation regarding a PPD award, they are agreeing to the following:
- The claimant is disabled;
- The claimant will receive a specific PPD award;
- There is no need for a hearing on this matter;
- The claimant may reopen their claim within 5 years; and
- The claimant is entitled to reasonable medical treatment for the injury for the remainder of their life.
This is different from reaching a settlement, in that the claimant cannot reopen his or her claim and cannot receive any future medical treatment unless it is specifically addressed in the settlement agreement. It is crucial that employees understand that, if they settle instead of entering into a stipulation, they are waiving all future rights to any benefits that are not expressly included in the settlement agreement.
If you have questions regarding stipulations, settlements, or any other workers’ compensation issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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