Approval of Settlement Agreements in Louisiana Workers Compensation

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Settlements in Louisiana Workers Compensation

Under Louisiana workers compensation law, there are two types of settlements of workers compensation claims: compromise settlements and lump sum settlements.

A lump sum settlement occurs when there is no real dispute that the claim is owed, and the parties simply agree to payment of the discounted value of future benefits in exchange for a full and final release of the employer from any further liability. 

A lump sum payment or compromise settlement in exchange for full and final discharge and release of the employer and the workers compensation insurance company is allowed only:

    1. Upon agreement between the parties, including the insurer's duty to obtain the employer's consent;
    2. When it can be demonstrated that a lump sum payment is clearly in the best interests of the parties; and
    3. Upon the expiration of six months after termination of temporary total disability. However, such expiration may be waived by consent of the parties.

As used in this part, “parties” means the employee or his dependent and the employer or the workers compensation insurance company. The office of risk management is not required to obtain approval of settlements from the employing state agency, department, council, board, or political subdivision.

A compromise settlement, unlike a lump sum settlement, resolves a dispute between the employee and the workers compensation insurance company as to how much, if anything, the employee is owed.

A compromise settlement is the most common type of settlement, due to the frequency in which workers compensation insurance companies dispute claims.

A compromise settlement differs from a lump sum settlements in that a compromise settlement relates to uncertain values, and therefore may be for any amount agreed on by the parties, such that the limitation to a discount rate of eight percent or less does not apply (unlike lump sum settlements).

Settlement Agreements in Louisiana Workers Compensation

Under Louisiana workers compensation law, settlement agreements should be in writing and include specific legal provisions and settlement language, before the settlement agreements and settlement papers are presented to the workers compensation Judge for approval.

For example, the following should be included in all settlement agreements:

    1. A joint petition for approval of the settlement;
    2. The affidavits verifying the consent of each of the parties;
    3. A proposed Order of Approval;
    4. A waiver of the six-month waiting period;
    5. A First Report of Injury/Illness (Form LWC-WC IA-1);
    6. A Request for Lump Sum/Compromise Settlement (Form 1011), for full and final settlement;
    7. A Stop Payment Form (Form 1003), for full and final settlement; 
    8. Motion and Order/Stipulated Judgment (for partial settlements for a current Disputed Claim for Compensation, Form 1008);
    9. A clear statement on the responsibility for unapproved medical benefits and future medical benefits (in order to prevent litigation on these issues in the future);
    10. Any and all appropriate medical records, or at the very least enough medical records so that the workers compensation Judge can assess the nature of the injury and disability and whether the proposed settlement does substantial justice to the parties;
    11. Any allegations regarding any structured settlement, with the appropriate documents (trust agreements, lifecare plans, etc.); 
    12. Any stipulations as to waiver of subrogation or partial waiver of subrogation;
    13. Any agreement as to Second Injury Board funding;
    14. Any agreement as to any Medicare Set Aside (MSA);
    15. Any provisions concerning “spread language” for purposes of Social Security Disability (SSDI) or other benefit entitlement to show the settlement benefit as a lifetime payment instead of being treated as a single payment (so that the employee's on-going benefits will not be significantly impacted);
    16. Any agreement as to who would be responsible for any outstanding liens and/or conditional payments related to the workers compensation claim;
    17. Any status of any liens, including child support liens, and if a payment is being made by the workers compensation insurance company directly to the lienholder;
    18. Any issues concerning resignation of employment; and
    19. Any issues concerning confidentiality.

Also, any written settlement agreement must declare which injuries (or, more commonly, all injuries flowing from a particular accident date) are being settled and the amount of the settlement payment(s), despite the fact that most orders approving settlement specifically incorporate the terms of the joint petition for approval of settlement.

All full and final settlement agreements must be approved by the workers compensation Judge, or else the settlement is not valid and the workers compensation insurance company can be penalized.

However, in a full and final settlement, a separate release - which will not be submitted to the OWC Judge - should be included to state the disposition of any other issues, including but not limited to:

    1. Documentation of a full break between employer and the employee, if the employee is not returning to work for the employer;
    2. The employee's resignation, if the employee agrees to resign;
    3. A statement releasing the employer from any and all employment-related claims, if the employee agrees;
    4. The specific amount that the employee is receiving in the settlement; and
    5. clause stating that to the extent that the OWC denies approval of the settlement, the release has no effect. 

Last, it is possible to confect a full and final settlement orally, in the presence of a workers compensation Judge and transcribed on the record, but in such cases, the 30 day clock for funding of the settlement begins running at the moment the Judge approves the settlement in open court, on the record.

Sworn Affidavits in Full and Final Settlements

In full and final settlements, numerous affidavits - which are signed written statements that are sworn under oath to be true - are required to be included in the settlement documents submitted to the OWC Judge for approval.

These affidavits include:

    1. An affidavit from the attorney for the workers compensation insurance company;
    2. An affidavit from the attorney for the employee; and
    3. An affidavit from the employee.

The affidavit of the attorney for the workers compensation insurance company should recite the authority to settle the case; however - even though Louisiana law requires the consent of the employer for settlement (usually obtained in writing) - this written does not need to be included in the affidavit or settlement package.

The affidavit of the employee's attorney should recite that the employee's attorney has explained the terms and conditions of the settlement to the employee and that the employee understands that no further benefits will be paid after approval of the settlement.

The affidavit of the employee should recite that the employee's attorney has explained the impact of the settlement to the employee, and that the employee understands that the settlement is full and final and that, upon approval, the employee will never again be able to recover benefits from the workers compensation insurance company or employer.

The affidavit from the employee should recite that the employee waives the 6 month waiting period from the expiration of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits, as required under Louisiana law.

In cases where a Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) is not being used due to the fact that the employee is not on Medicare or Social Security Disability, the affidavit from the employee should recite such facts, in order to provide some protection to the workers compensation insurance company which relies upon the representation of the employee that he or she is not receiving Medicare or Social Security.

Should the employee lie in the employee's affidavit about Medicare or Social Security Disability, and should Medicare make a claim for benefits within two years, the workers compensation insurance companymay have the option of voiding the settlement due to fraud.

Medicare Set Asides in Settlement Agreements

As noted above, any and all agreements as to any Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) should be included in all settlement agreements.

The workers compensation insurance company should confirm the employee's Medicare and Social Security Disability status so as to make sure to comply with any requirements for a Medicare Set-Aside (MSA).

But remember, the injured employee and the workers compensation insurance company are allowed to settle any portion the employee's workers compensation claim, including any and all claims for past and future indemnity benefits and any and all claims for past and future medical benefits.

Therefore, if a Medicare Set-Aside is needed, the injured employee and the workers compensation insurance company could also agree:

    1. To settle just the indemnity portion of the claim, wherein it is not necessary to include any Medicare-Set Aside with clauses in the settlement agreement; or
    2. To settle the indemnity and medical portion of the claim, wherein it is necessary to include any Medicare Set-Aside with clauses in the settlement agreements.

Either way, the injured employee and the workers compensation insurance company should confirm the employee's Social Security and Medicare status when considering settlement of the medical portion of an employee's workers compensation claim for future medical benefits.

To the extent that a Medicare Set-Aside is being used, the terms of the Medicare Set-Aside should be clearly stated and the allocation should be incorporated as an exhibit.

The settlement documents should state whether the Medicare Set-Aside is being paid in a lump sum or by annuity; if the MSA is being paid by annuity, the settlement documents should include the seed money and the yearly amounts.

The documents should also state whether the MSA is being sent to CMS for approval, and the rights and remedies of the parties, including the right to void the medical settlement, should CMS request an increase in the MSA.

If a Medicare Set-Aside is not being used, the settlement documents should clearly state why an MSA is not needed (in order to protect the interests of the federal government), including at the very least that the employee does not meet the CMS thresholds for MSA review.

Approval of Settlements by the OWC Judge in Louisiana Workers Compensation

As noted above, all full and final settlement agreements must be approved by the workers compensation Judge, or else the settlement is not valid and the workers compensation insurance company can be penalized.

However, it is possible to confect a full and final settlement orally, in the presence of a workers compensation Judge and transcribed on the record of the court.

In fact, a hearing in open court with all parties present shall be required when one or more parties is not represented by counsel, though in special circumstances and in the interest of judicial economy, the workers compensation Judge may allow the unrepresented party to waive his appearance and permit the party to appear by telephone. 

Also, when one or more parties is not represented by counsel, the workers compensation Judge may appoint an attorney to assist the court in determining whether the settlement does substantial justice and is in the best interest of all parties; in such cases the workers compensation Judge may approve an attorney's fee to be paid out of the proceeds of the settlement.

Otherwise, the lump sum or compromise settlement paperwork  shall be presented to the presiding workers compensation Judge in a pending disputed claim or to any judge in an undisputed claim for approval on Form LWC-WC-1011 and upon joint petition of the parties.

When the employee is represented by an attorney, the workers compensation judge has no discretion in whether or not to approve the settlement; under Louisiana law, if the settlement documents are complete and proper, the workers compensation Judge “shall” approve the settlement.

But when the employee is not represented by an attorney, the workers compensation Judge may refuse to approve a settlement if the Judge determines that the employee does not understand the terms and conditions of the settlement or that the settlement does not provide substantial justice to all parties.

Nonetheless, a workers compensation settlement is not valid and enforceable unless the settlement has been presented properly and approved by the workers compensation Judge. 

But once the settlement is approved by the workers compensation Judge, this settlement becomes a court Judgment, and can only be set aside or modified for fraud or misrepresentation made by any party.

Additionally, all compensable medical expenses incurred prior to the date of the settlement shall be paid by the workers compensation insurance company unless the terms of the settlement specifically provide otherwise.

Approval of a Compromise Settlement If Tort Litigation is Pending

Under Louisiana workers compensation law, if a tort lawsuit has been filed by the workers compensation insurance company or the employee against a third party, and this lawsuit has an effect on the employee's right to compensation, the district court hearing the third-party suit shall, in addition to a workers compensation Judge, have the authority to approve a lump sum or compromise settlement of the workers compensation claim under the same conditions and terms as the approval of such settlements by a workers compensation Judge, and such authority of the district court shall include approval and establishment of any credit due the workers compensation insurance company.

Also, in such a scenario, the fees of the attorney representing the employee in the workers compensation matter shall be approved by the district court Judge.

After any dismissal of the tort suit, the right to approve a compromise in the context of a workers compensation proceeding rests solely with the workers compensation Judge.

Payment of Settlement Funds in Louisiana Workers Compensation

As noted above, all full and final settlement agreements must be approved by the workers compensation Judge, or else the settlement is not valid and the workers compensation insurance company can be penalized.

Once the workers compensation Judge signs off on the settlement documents, the settlement agreement is now a Judgment of the court.

At that point, the employee is entitled to any and all settlement proceeds within 30 days of the date of approval of the settlement agreement by the workers compensation Judge.

Additionally, under Louisiana workers compensation law, if a Judgment obtained via settlement agreement is not paid within the 30 days of the date of approval of the settlement agreement, the workers compensation insurance company can be assessed with a penalty of 24% of the judgment or $100 per day together with reasonable attorney's fees for each day after it remains unpaid, whichever is greater.

So the workers compensation insurance company and its attorneys must be aware of the date of approval of the settlement, and make sure that any settlement funds that need to be produced have been properly obtained in a timely manner, in order to avoid any potential penalty.

Also, for these reasons, when the initial settlement agreement is reached, it should include an agreement as to the time for performance (including payment) and whether or not settlement documents, stipulations and/or a consent judgment is required.

Failure to include such an agreement could subject the workers compensation insurance company to the above-detailed penalties.

Also, if the settlement is placed on the record at the time it is made, and no requirement for completion of settlement documents is included, the employee can properly refuse to execute settlement documents, as the case is already settled. 

The Louisiana Statutes for Settlement Agreements in Louisiana Workers Compensation

The primary Louisiana statutes regarding settlement agreements are La. R.S. 23:1101, La. R.S. 23:1201, La. R.S. 23:1271, La. R.S. 23:1272, and La. R.S. 23:1274, which read as follows:

§1101.  Employee and employer suits against third persons; effect on right to compensation

A.  When an injury or compensable sickness or disease for which compensation is payable under this Chapter has occurred under circumstances creating in some person (in this Section referred to as "third person") other than those persons against whom the said employee's rights and remedies are limited in R.S. 23:1032, a legal liability to pay damages in respect thereto, the aforesaid employee or his dependents may claim compensation under this Chapter and the payment or award of compensation hereunder shall not affect the claim or right of action of the said employee or his dependents, relations, or personal representatives against such third person, nor be regarded as establishing a measure of damages for the claim; and such employee or his dependents, relations, or personal representatives may obtain damages from or proceed at law against such third person to recover damages for the injury, or compensable sickness or disease.

B.  Any person having paid or having become obligated to pay compensation under the provisions of this Chapter may bring suit in district court against such third person to recover any amount which he has paid or becomes obligated to pay as compensation to such employee or his dependents.  The recovery allowed herein shall be identical in percentage to the recovery of the employee or his dependents against the third person, and where the recovery of the employee is decreased as a result of comparative negligence, the recovery of the person who has paid compensation or has become obligated to pay compensation shall be reduced by the same percentage.  The amount of any credit due the employer may be set in the judgment of the district court if agreed to by the parties; otherwise, it will be determined pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 23:1102(A).

C.  For purposes of this Section, "third person" shall include any party who causes injury to an employee at the time of his employment or at any time thereafter provided the employer is obligated to pay benefits under this Chapter because the injury by the third party has aggravated the employment related injury.

D.  Repealed by Acts 2005, No. 267, §2.

Acts 1976, No. 147, §2; Acts 1985, No. 931, §1; Acts 1989, No. 454, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1990, No. 973, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1354, §1, eff. July 15, 1997; Acts 2005, No. 257, §§1, 2.

§1201. Time and place of payment; failure to pay timely; failure to authorize; penalties and attorney fees

A.(1) Payments of compensation under this Chapter shall be paid as near as may be possible, at the same time and place as wages were payable to the employee before the accident; however, when the employee is not living at the place where the wages were paid, or is absent therefrom, such payments shall be made by mail, upon the employee giving to the employer a sufficient mailing address. However, a longer interval, not to exceed one month, may be substituted by agreement without approval of the assistant secretary. An interval of more than one month must be approved by the assistant secretary.

(2) Notwithstanding the requirement to make payments by mail in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, electronic transfer of funds, including but not limited to direct deposit or use of a debit card, is an appropriate method of payment of compensation under this Chapter. Where a payor or insurer elects to issue debit cards and makes weekly payments by way of electronic funds transfers, an injured worker represented by an attorney may elect to have his weekly indemnity check deposited directly into his attorney's trust account. Where such an election is made, the payor or insurer shall provide notice by way of email only to the injured worker's attorney containing a list of all claims and amounts included in the direct deposit within forty-eight hours of the direct deposit.

B. The first installment of compensation payable for temporary total disability, permanent total disability, or death shall become due on the fourteenth day after the employer or insurer has knowledge of the injury or death, on which date all such compensation then due shall be paid.

C. Installment benefits payable pursuant to R.S. 23:1221(3) shall become due on the fourteenth day after the employer or insurer has knowledge of the compensable supplemental earnings benefits on which date all such compensation then due shall be paid.

D. Installment benefits payable pursuant to R.S. 23:1221(4) shall become due on the thirtieth day after the employer or insurer receives a medical report giving notice of the permanent partial disability on which date all such compensation then due shall be paid.

E.(1) Medical benefits payable under this Chapter shall be paid within sixty days after the employer or insurer receives written notice thereof, if the provider of medical services is not utilizing the electronic billing rules and regulations provided for in R.S. 23:1203.2.

(2) For those providers of medical services who utilize the electronic billing rules and regulations provided for in R.S. 23:1203.2, medical benefits payable under this Chapter shall be paid within thirty days after the employer or insurer receives a complete electronic medical bill, as defined by rules promulgated by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

F. Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, failure to provide payment in accordance with this Section or failure to consent to the employee's request to select a treating physician or change physicians when such consent is required by R.S. 23:1121 shall result in the assessment of a penalty in an amount up to the greater of twelve percent of any unpaid compensation or medical benefits, or fifty dollars per calendar day for each day in which any and all compensation or medical benefits remain unpaid or such consent is withheld, together with reasonable attorney fees for each disputed claim; however, the fifty dollars per calendar day penalty shall not exceed a maximum of two thousand dollars in the aggregate for any claim. The maximum amount of penalties which may be imposed at a hearing on the merits regardless of the number of penalties which might be imposed under this Section is eight thousand dollars. An award of penalties and attorney fees at any hearing on the merits shall be res judicata as to any and all claims for which penalties may be imposed under this Section which precedes the date of the hearing. Penalties shall be assessed in the following manner:

(1) Such penalty and attorney fees shall be assessed against either the employer or the insurer, depending upon fault. No workers' compensation insurance policy shall provide that these sums shall be paid by the insurer if the workers' compensation judge determines that the penalty and attorney fees are to be paid by the employer rather than the insurer.

(2) This Subsection shall not apply if the claim is reasonably controverted or if such nonpayment results from conditions over which the employer or insurer had no control.

(3) Except as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Subsection, any additional compensation paid by the employer or insurer pursuant to this Section shall be paid directly to the employee.

(4) In the event that the health care provider prevails on a claim for payment of his fee, penalties as provided in this Section and reasonable attorney fees based upon actual hours worked may be awarded and paid directly to the health care provider. This Subsection shall not be construed to provide for recovery of more than one penalty or attorney fee.

(5) No amount paid as a penalty or attorney fee under this Subsection shall be included in any formula utilized to establish premium rates for workers' compensation insurance.

G. If any award payable under the terms of a final, nonappealable judgment is not paid within thirty days after it becomes due, there shall be added to such award an amount equal to twenty-four percent thereof or one hundred dollars per day together with reasonable attorney fees, for each calendar day after thirty days it remains unpaid, whichever is greater, which shall be paid at the same time as, and in addition to, such award, unless such nonpayment results from conditions over which the employer had no control. No amount paid as a penalty under this Subsection shall be included in any formula utilized to establish premium rates for workers' compensation insurance. The total one hundred dollar per calendar day penalty provided for in this Subsection shall not exceed three thousand dollars in the aggregate.

H. Within fourteen days after the final payment of compensation has been made, the employer or insurer shall send a notice to the office, in the manner prescribed by the rules of the assistant secretary, stating:

(1) The name of the injured employee or any other person to whom compensation has been paid, or both.

(2) The date of injury or death.

(3) The dates on which compensation has been paid.

(4) The total amount of compensation paid.

(5) The fact that final payment has been made.

I. Any employer or insurer who at any time discontinues payment of claims due and arising under this Chapter, when such discontinuance is found to be arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause, shall be subject to the payment of a penalty not to exceed eight thousand dollars and a reasonable attorney fee for the prosecution and collection of such claims. The provisions as set forth in R.S. 23:1141 limiting the amount of attorney fees shall not apply to cases where the employer or insurer is found liable for attorney fees under this Section. The provisions as set forth in R.S. 22:1892(C) shall be applicable to claims arising under this Chapter.

J. Notwithstanding the fact that more than one violation in this Section which provides for an award of attorney fees may be applicable, only one reasonable attorney fee may be awarded against the employer or insurer in connection with any hearing on the merits of any disputed claim filed pursuant to this Section, and an award of such single attorney fee shall be res judicata as to any and all conduct for which penalties may be imposed under this Section which precedes the date of the hearing.

Amended by Acts 1954, No. 723, §1; Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §§1, 6, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1985, No. 926, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986; Acts 1988, No. 938, §1, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 23, §1, eff. June 15, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 24, §1; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1992, No. 1003, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, No. 1137, §1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2003, No. 1204, §1; Acts 2008, No. 415, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 2009; Acts 2010, No. 3, §1, eff. May 11, 2010; Acts 2012, No. 652, §1, eff. July 1, 2013; Acts 2012, No. 860, §1; Acts 2013, No. 337, §1.

§1271.  Right of parties to settle or compromise

A.  It is stated policy for the administration of the workers' compensation system of this state that it is in the best interest of the injured worker to receive benefit payments on a periodic basis.  A lump sum payment or compromise settlement in exchange for full and final discharge and release of the employer, his insurer, or both from liability under this Chapter shall be allowed only:

(1)  Upon agreement between the parties, including the insurer's duty to obtain the employer's consent;

(2)  When it can be demonstrated that a lump sum payment is clearly in the best interests of the parties; and

(3)  Upon the expiration of six months after termination of temporary total disability.  However, such expiration may be waived by consent of the parties.

B.  As used in this Part, "parties" means the employee or his dependent and the employer or his insurer.  Nothing in this Section shall require the office of risk management to obtain approval of settlements from the employing state agency, department, council, board, or political subdivision.

Amended by Acts 1954, No. 724, §1; Acts 1966, No. 181, §1.  Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1991, No. 892, §1; Acts 1997, No. 60, §1, eff. June 11, 1997.

§1272.  Approval of lump sum or compromise settlements by the workers' compensation judge

A.  A lump sum or compromise settlement entered into by the parties under R.S. 23:1271 shall be presented to the workers' compensation judge for approval through a petition signed by all parties and verified by the employee or his dependent, or by recitation of the terms of the settlement and acknowledgment by the parties in open court which is capable of being transcribed from the record of the proceeding.

B.  When the employee or his dependent is represented by counsel, and if attached to the petition presented to the workers' compensation judge are affidavits of the employee or his dependent and of his counsel certifying each one of the following items: (1)  the attorney has explained the rights of the employee or dependent and the consequences of the settlement to him; and (2)  that such employee or dependent understands his rights and the consequences of entering into the settlement, then the workers' compensation judge shall approve the settlement by order, and the order shall not thereafter be set aside or modified except for fraud or misrepresentation made by any party.

C.  When the employee or his dependent is not represented by counsel, the workers' compensation judge shall determine whether the employee or his dependent understands the terms and conditions of the proposed settlement, and shall approve it by order, unless he finds that it does not provide substantial justice to all parties, and the order shall not thereafter be set aside or modified except for fraud or misrepresentation made by any party.

D.  If a suit has been filed against a third party pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 23:1101, the district court hearing the third-party suit shall, in addition to a workers' compensation judge, have the authority to approve a lump sum or compromise settlement of the workers' compensation claim under the same conditions and terms set forth in this Section for approval of such settlements by a workers' compensation judge, and such authority shall include approval and establishment of the credit due the employer.  The fees of the attorney representing the employee in the workers' compensation matter shall be approved by the district court judge.

E.  All compensable medical expenses incurred prior to the date of the settlement shall be paid by the payor unless the terms of the settlement specifically provide otherwise.

Acts 1992, No. 769, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1137, §1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 776, §1; Acts 2001, No. 1014, §1, eff. June 27, 2001; Acts 2005, No. 257, §1.

§1274. Lump sum settlements; necessity for approval

A. The amounts payable as compensation may be commuted to a lump sum settlement by agreement if approved by the workers' compensation judge as provided in this Part. In a lump sum settlement, the payments due the employee or his dependents shall not be discounted at a greater rate than eight percent per annum.

B. If the lump sum settlement is made without the approval of the workers' compensation judge, or at a discount greater than eight percent per annum, even if approved by the assistant secretary or the workers' compensation judge, the employer shall be liable for compensation at one and one-half times the rate fixed by this Chapter. At any time within two years after date of the payment of the lump sum settlement and notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter, the claimant shall be entitled to demand and receive in a lump sum from the employer such additional payment as together with the amount already paid, will aggregate one and one-half times the compensation which would have been due but for such lump sum settlement.

C. Upon payment of a lump sum settlement commuted on a term agreed upon by the parties, approved by the workers' compensation judge, and discounted at not more than eight percent per annum, the liability of the employer or his insurer making the payment shall be fully satisfied.

D. For the settlement of compensation claims as provided in R.S. 23:1231 through 1236 the following procedure shall be followed. The claimant must present to the employer an affidavit of death of the employee, proper proof of the claimant's relationship to the deceased and his legal right to the compensation benefits. Such documentation shall be affixed to the joint petition and submitted to the workers' compensation judge for approval as hereinabove provided.

Acts 1977, No. 40, §1; Acts 1982, No. 611, §1; Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1988, No. 938, §1, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 23, §1, eff. June 15, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997. 

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