Worker compensation proceedings can be complicated. There are all sorts of paperwork to fill and meetings to attend. One of those meetings is the Stipulation Status Conference, and it tends to puzzle people when they receive notification of it. The notification comes after everyone has agreed to major points, after all. You may wonder what the point is. However, a stipulation status conference is an important part of Minnesota’s workers compensation proceedings. Here is what you need to know about it.
This is an informal meeting to make sure that the court gets a Stipulation for Settlement on time by updating all parties about the status of the stipulation and work out whatever people need to do to achieve a final resolution of the workers’ compensation claim.
When you and your employer/insurer reach an agreement about your compensation, this is called a ‘settlement,’ but it doesn’t take effect until a worker’s compensation judge writes an order approving it called an Award on Stipulation. The official form of your written agreement is called a Stipulation for Settlement, and it will consist of the admitted material facts, the positions of the parties, and what everybody agrees to. It will also include documentation of the different parties’ positions, a statement as to what the insurer or employer will pay you, and what the lawyers are owed.
A Stipulation Status Conference is where the final details of the settlement get ironed out after the tentative agreement. The parties deal with issues such as outstanding bills from your medical provider or missing documentation, or whatever else the parties need in order to file the Stipulation for Settlement. If there aren’t any details to iron or update people on, it is where the status of settled is confirmed before you or your lawyer file the final piece of paperwork.
Stipulation Status Conferences are not always necessary. What typically happens when a dispute arises between employee and insurer is that Office of Administrative Hearings schedules something called a settlement conference. This is the conference where you or your lawyer submit a proposal for the settlement and all parties try to come to an agreement on it. If everyone can agree on a settlement at the conference and they have all the documentation they need, they can have the Stipulation for Settlement written up and filed with the OAH. Whether all the details are ready or not, the parties involved report that the case is ‘settled’ when they reach the tentative agreement at the conference.
Once the OAH hears that the case is settled, it will schedule a Stipulation Status Conference to take place 45 days later. They will send you an official Notice of a Stipulation Status Conference when they schedule it.
The OAH tends to schedule these conferences in blocks of 50 to 100 cases. Many of these conferences get canceled because the lawyers file the Stipulation for Settlement before the meeting. There is nothing to update if it’s done already.
However, sometimes the settlements take longer to finalize. The additional documentation takes extra-long to get ahold of, the doctors delay submitting bills, or some other necessary thing takes up more time than anticipated. Then the Stipulation Status Conference makes sure that the appropriate actions are being taken to resolve the case. The Court will offer services to help resolve lingering issues.
Every once in a while, the agreement falls apart. One party or another decides to back out of the agreement. When that happens, the Court will use the Stipulation Status Conference to put the case back on the trial calendar. The OAH don’t normally allow continuances, so everybody needs to be ready with explanations for any delays and plans for resolving the case.
Your lawyer will be able to tell you if you have to attend the conference. And it is important to have good representation at these conferences. Joshua Borken can make sure that the conference goes smoothly and in your favor. If you have any questions about the workers’ compensation proceedings, contact us and we will help you.