Most California Workers' Compensation cases settle without ever going to trial. This happens for a number of reasons -- settling is not only more convenient for both parties, but it also provides more options for the injured worker. There are two main types of settlement in a California Workers' Compensation case: Stips (Stipulations with request for reward) and C&R (Compromise & Release). Both types of settlement come with advantages and disadvantages.
Let's start with the C&R. The C&R is what you're probably imagining when you hear the word, "settlement." It is a large lump sum, meant to cover permanent disability, lost wages, as well as future medical treatment. If you are still working for the company where you were injured, a C&R often requires that you resign -- this is per the insurance company and not your employer. Once you and your attorney come to an agreement about settlement amount with opposing counsel, a Workers' Compensation judge must approve your C&R. The insurance company then has 30 days to mail your check. When you have your check, your Workers' Compensation claim is closed, and you are responsible for your own medical treatment.
The Stips is a form of settlement that gives you a smaller lump sum for permanent disability and land keeps your medical care open. You can continue to receive treatment for your workplace injury through Workers' Compensation for as long as you live. However, your treatment will always be subject to Utilization Review (UR), just like before the settlement. Like a C&R, Stips requires approval from a Workers' Compensation judge. You receive your settlement in monthly chunks instead of one lump sum, and the insurance company generally has 30 days to send you the first one.
Is C&R or Stips better for you? That depends on the specifics of your case, your financial situation, your access to private medical insurance, and your workplace injury. A good Workers' Compensation attorney will advise you and work with the insurance company to get your desired outcome. You and your Workers' Compensation lawyer should work together to decide which kind of settlement works best for you.