Workers’ Compensation Case Review: Attorneys Are Presumed to Have Authority to Stipulate to an Average Weekly Wage

Aug 21, 2014 | WC & Other Laws

Diane Coxen hired an attorney to help her with a work injury.  The contract between Ms. Coxen and her attorney provided that neither party would agree to settle the claim without the permission of the other. During the course of the case, her attorney stipulated to a particular average weekly wage.

The claim closed but was re-opened later after her condition worsened.  With a new lawyer, Ms. Coxen sought to set aside the agreement on the average weekly wage, claiming that she had not given her former attorney permission to stipulate to an average weekly wage.

An Administrative Law judge disagreed, noting that Claimant’s attorneys typically negotiate various aspects of a workers’ compensation claim, although full & final settlements require the injured workers’ notarized signature.  The contract for legal services allowed the attorney to “act in the name and place of the claimant, and to perform every act necessary to be done for claimant.”

Although agreeing to an average weekly wage may affect the ultimate value of a claim, it is not a “settlement” which requires the signature of the injured worker.

Take away:  Avoid these hassles and get injured workers’ signed agreement on average weekly wage numbers.

As always, how this or any other case we discuss in this blog would apply to your case depends on many more factors.  We urge you to call us to see if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  Workers’ Compensation is difficult, confusing, and very complex.  Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve.   Contact us here or call us at 303-780-7329 for your FREE CONSULTATION.


Cite:  Coxen v. Laidlaw Transit, WC No. 4-674-208 (Case Affirmed in an unpublished decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals on February 21, 2013)