§ 28-33-25. Settlement for lump sum or structured-type payment.
(a)(1) In case payments have continued for not less than six (6) months, the parties may petition the workers' compensation court for an order approving a settlement of the future liability for a lump sum or structured-type periodic payment over a period of time.
(2)(i) In considering the petition, a judge shall give due weight to the fact that it is the policy of this chapter that compensation be paid weekly.
(ii) The petition shall be considered by a judge of the court and may be granted where it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the payment of a lump sum or structured-type payment in lieu of future weekly payments will be in the best interest of all parties including the employee, employer, insurance carrier, and where applicable, the workers' compensation administrative fund and the center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) as their interests may appear. Any proposed settlement that exceeds one hundred four (104) weeks of compensation for partial incapacity may be rejected by the chief judge in his or her discretion. The employee shall be entitled to a finding amortizing the net settlement over his or her life expectancy.
(iii) In determining whether the settlement is in the best interest of all parties, the judge may refer the employee for a rehabilitation evaluation pursuant to the provisions of § 28-33-41.
(3) Upon payment, the employer and insurer shall be entitled to a duly executed release, which fully and finally absolves and discharges the employer and insurer from any and all liability arising out of the injury.
(b) The provisions of this section shall be strictly construed and all hearings for commutation shall be conducted in open session.
(c) No case may be settled to a lump sum or structured-type periodic payment while the Rhode Island temporary disability insurance fund and/or the department of social and rehabilitative services has a claim for payments made under chapter 41 of this title unless agreement is made to pay any claim from the lump sum or structured-type periodic payments.
(d) Attorneys' fees shall be fixed by the court, but in no event shall any attorney's fee for representing an employee in connection with a petition brought pursuant to this section exceed a sum equal to twenty percent (20%) of the lump sum or twenty percent (20%) of the structured-type periodic payment reduced to present day value.
(e) No case shall be settled for a lump sum or structured-type periodic payment unless it is placed upon the record in open session, that the employer, if insured, has been advised by the insurer or its agent of the potential effect of the settlement on its workers' compensation premium, and has the opportunity to appear and state its disapproval of the settlement.
(f) Settlements must be paid within fourteen (14) days of entry of an order to pay or the date(s) upon which payment(s) is/are due pursuant to a court order, and a penalty of one hundred dollars ($100) shall be assessed for every day payment is delinquent.
(P.L. 1912, ch. 831, art. 2, § 25; G.L. 1923, ch. 92, art. 2, § 25; G.L. 1938, ch. 300, art. 2, § 25; G.L. ch. 300, art. 2, § 24; P.L. 1954, ch. 3297, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 28-33-25; P.L. 1969, ch. 150, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 32, art. 1, § 6; P.L. 1984, ch. 142, art. 6, § 8; P.L. 1984 (s.s.), ch. 450, § 3; P.L. 1985, ch. 187, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 332, art. 4, § 3; P.L. 1992, ch. 31, § 5; P.L. 1995, ch. 44, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 273, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 293, § 3.)