In many areas of the law once you settle your case you are unable to reopen the settlement and request additional benefits. Parties like to have finality and not worry about cases been resurrected in the future. However, under Minnesota workers compensation law there are limited situations after a Minnesota workers compensation settlement where an injured worker can reopen or vacate their prior Stipulation for Settlement. It is important to understand that not every settlement can be reopened. Only in limited situations will the Court vacate a Stipulation.
If an injured worker wishes to set aside their prior Stipulation, a Petition must be submitted the Worker’s Compensation Court of Appeals outlining why there is “cause” to vacate the Stipulation. Cause may include a mutual mistake of fact, newly discovered evidence, fraud or a substantial change in the injured worker’s medical condition since the time of the award that was not clearly anticipated and could not reasonably have been anticipated at the time of settlement. In evaluating whether to vacate a prior settlement the Court will also ascertain whether the settlement affords compensation proportionate to the disability. This however cannot be the only factor, that will be weighed in combination with the other four excepted categories of “cause”.
Oftentimes, if a Stipulation for Settlement is to be vacated it will be on grounds that there has been a substantial change in the injured workers condition. The Worker’s Compensation Court of Appeals will look at a variety of factors including any change in diagnoses, changes in the employee’s ability to work, additional permanent partial disability, necessity of more costly and extensive medical care and treatment, the causal relationship between the injury and the current worsens condition and contemplation of the parties at the time of settlement.
If an injured worker is looking to potentially vacate their prior Stipulation for Settlement it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Minnesota worker’s compensation lawyer. Not every Minnesota worker’s compensation lawyer handles these types of cases. Our office has handled many of these cases successfully and have been able to vacate prior stipulation for settlement when there’ve been a substantial change in the injured worker’s condition. If you or a loved one would like to discuss the possibility of vacating a prior Stipulation for Settlement contact our office for free no hassle consultation. We will go through with you the facts of your case and provide you with an analysis as to whether we would be able to petition for vacating a Stipulation percent. Contact us today.