In Wisconsin, a workers compensation settlement can by stipulation, limited compromise, or full and final compromise. In Wisconsin the terms stipulation and compromise are used differently than they are in other areas of law.
After a claim is denied, and an application for more benefits is filed, the parties may reach an agreement on benefits for medical bills, temporary total disability or permanent disability. The parties can enter into a written stipulation or agreement of what is being paid for some disputed benefits, but then everything else is left open, meaning the injured worker can come back later for more benefits. Any bills or disability benefits subject to the stipulation would not be available.
The stipulation must set forth all periods of temporary disability; the extent of permanent disability conceded, and any medical expenses to be paid. An administrative law judge will issue an order on the stipulation, which has the effect of dismissing any pending application for hearing; but allowing the applicant to make further claims for benefits subject to the statute of limitation.
A compromise is a settlement that closes out partially or completely the injured workers claims from a given injury or job duties over a period of time.
All compromises must contain certain require language including the word compromise, otherwise it will be treated as a stipulation. An injured employee can attempt to reopen a compromise within one year, but the conditions are very narrow and rarely are compromises reopened. Grounds are gross inequity, important new evidence, fraud, duress, or mutual mistake. Compromises must be approved by the DWD and the DWD will not approve a compromise unless it believes that there is a legitimate dispute as to some element of the claim being settled. Many orders on compromise are delayed because the ALJ is not convinced the parties provided medical or other reports demonstrating the existence of a dispute.
The parties may enter a limited compromise that is final with respect to only some issues. The most common limited compromise is leaving open future medical expense, most likely because the injured employee is on Medicare. The intention to enter a limited compromise must be clearly spelled out in the agreement or it will be treated as a final compromise on all claims arising out of the injury. A full and final compromise is a complete settlement. Keep in mind, a compromise cannot settle or release claims arising in the future, whether they be traumatic injuries or occupational claims from job duties.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin determine a workers compensation settlement by stipulation, limited or full and final compromise depending on what is in the best interest of the injured worker.