Prior to settling a workers’ compensation case, the petitioner’s attorney must address the issue of outstanding medical bills for unauthorized treatment. If the respondent will not agree to pay the outstanding bills as a part of the settlement, the petitioner’s attorney should notify the provider of its right to intervene in the pending workers’ compensation action.

In 2004, the New Jersey Supreme Court overruled prior case law, which allowed collection actions only after a finding of compensability. University of Mass. Memorial Medical Center, Inc. et al v. Christodoulou, 180 N.J 334 (2004). Christodoulou held that since �20 workers’ compensation settlements do not involve a finding of compensability, to allow collection actions only after a finding of compensability would disallow all collection actions in such cases. This, the court reasoned, would be unfair to the medical provider who was excluded from the workers’ compensation settlement. The Christodoulou court, therefore, added to the growing list of issues a petitioner’s attorney must consider before settling a workers’ compensation case.

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