Commutation vs. Compromise
One of the distinctions that Medicare regulations and manuals make between compromise and commutation cases is the absence of controversy over whether a WC carrier is liable to make payments. A significant number of WC lump-sum cases are commutations of future WC benefits where typically there is no controversy between the injured individual and the WC carrier over whether the WC carrier is actually liable to make payments. An absence of controversy over whether a WC carrier is liable to make payments is not the only distinction that Medicare’s manuals and regulations make between compromise and commutation cases. Thus, lump-sum settlements should not automatically be considered as compromise cases simply because a WC carrier does not admit to being liable in a settlement agreement. Therefore, an admission of liability by the WC carrier is not the sole determining factor of whether or not a case is considered a compromise or commutation.