In Georgia, for the parties to settle a workers’ compensation claim, the following conditions must be met:
1) the parties must agree to the settlement; that is, settlement is voluntary – the Employee and the Employer/Insurer must agree – no one can force either party to settle
2) the agreement must be reasonable under the evidence available at the time. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation reviews each settlement to ensure the agreement is reasonable. The State Board has broad discretion to determine reasonableness.
3) the State Board must approve the settlement. The workers’ compensation settlement is not binding until the State Board approves it. The settlement must be signed by the parties, submitted to the State Board, and then approved by the State Board before it is binding. Therefore, any party to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation settlement can withdraw from the settlement prior to approval of the State Board. Once approved, however, it is final and both parties are bound by the agreement. At this point, the Employer/Insurer has 20 days to pay the proceeds if the checks are mail from within Georgia, and 17 days if mailed from outside the state.