Thursday, January 07, 2010
Settlements use Specific Forms but there are twists
In Colorado the parties in any settlement must use forms called USA's which stands for Uniform Settlement Agreements. The Division put some information on this in a recent posting you can click here. Colorado in doing so was attempting to make settlements easy to understand since they are all supposed to have standardized language. Sounds simple but there are some twists here. First, there is one form to use for the pro se or unrepresented claimant and another for the claimant represented by an attorney. Next, despite the effort to standardize things the parties often have side deals that are really part of any settlement. Those must be addressed somewhere. For example often the insurer and employer may require that the employee resign and waive such matters as discrimination or bad faith. Or, there is a need to address certain medical matters. Often these side deals are really requirements for a settlement but the Division does not approve the side deals even though we all know that the parties must have them. Whether attached or not these side deals are important enough that no one should simply sign them and assume anyone at the Division will review them. They are not reviewed at all as the Division is concerned with the work injury itself. So pay attention to everything you sign as you may be giving up something valuable or dealing with certain medical issues that are important.