|Post by Ellen Adams|
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission recently issued an Advisory Notice regarding settlement conferences. The Commission requires a Form 14B from the authorized treating physician be submitted at the time of the request for the settlement conference for all cases arising on or after July 1, 2007. The Carrier may submit additional reports or Forms 14B completed by physicians other than the authorized treating physician. If you are unable to secure a Form 14B from the treating physician, a final medical narrative can be submitted with the request for the clincher conference. The Commission will initially request a Form 14B from the Carrier; however, if you resubmit the request with an explanation that a Form 14B has been requested but not provided, the Commission will set the case for a settlement conference.
At the settlement conference, if the hearing commissioner finds the settlement agreement unfair to the Claimant, the claim will be set for a hearing rather than allowing counsel to secure additional authority at the settlement conference. Several commissioners have commented that on an increasing basis they are encountering attempts to resolve claims with unrepresented claimants on a full and final basis for payment of the rating alone. Although the current Commission is much more conservative than others we have seen, all of the Commissioners view this as inherently unfair in an admitted case.
We all want closed files. The practice pointer: secure the Form 14B at the final medical appointment to avoid delay in the setting of the settlement conference. Offer the claimant at least twice the impairment rating to clincher a file unless there is a very good explanation for offering less. The only GOOD file is a CLINCHERED file.