Chapter 2. Compromise And Release of California Labor Code >> Division 4. >> Part 3. >> Chapter 2.
No contract, rule, or regulation shall exempt the employer
from liability for the compensation fixed by this division, but
nothing in this division shall:
(a) Impair the right of the parties interested to compromise,
subject to the provisions herein contained, any liability which is
claimed to exist under this division on account of injury or death.
(b) Confer upon the dependents of any injured employee any
interest which the employee may not release by compromise or for
which he, or his estate is in the event of such compromise by him
accountable to dependents.
Compensation is the measure of the responsibility which the
employer has assumed for injuries or deaths which occur to employees
in his employment when subject to this division. No release of
liability or compromise agreement is valid unless it is approved by
the appeals board or referee.
A copy of the release or compromise agreement signed by both
parties shall forthwith be filed with the appeals board. Upon filing
with and approval by the appeals board, it may, without notice, of
its own motion or on the application of either party, enter its award
based upon the release or compromise agreement.
Every release or compromise agreement shall be in writing and
duly executed, and the signature of the employee or other
beneficiary shall be attested by two disinterested witnesses or
acknowledged before a notary public. The document shall specify:
(a) The date of the accident.
(b) The average weekly wages of the employee, determined according
to Chapter 1 of Part 2 of this division.
(c) The nature of the disability, whether total or partial,
permanent or temporary.
(d) The amount paid, or due and unpaid, to the employee up to the
date of the release or agreement or death, and the amount of the
payment or benefits then or thereafter to be made.
(e) The length of time such payment or benefit is to continue.
(f) In the event a claim of lien under subdivision (f) or (g) of
Section 4903 has been filed, the number of days and the amount of
temporary disability indemnity which should be allowed to the lien
In case of death there shall also be stated in the release or
(a) The date of death.
(b) The name of the widow.
(c) The names and ages of all children.
(d) The names of all other dependents.
(e) Whether the dependents are total or partial.
(f) The amount paid or to be paid as a death benefit and to whom
payment is to be made.
In any case involving a claim of occupational disease or
cumulative injury, as set forth in Section 5500.5, the employee and
any employer, or any insurance carrier for any employer, may enter
into a compromise and release agreement settling either all or any
part of the employee's claim, including a part of his claim against
any employer. Such compromise and release agreement, upon approval by
the appeals board or a referee, shall be a total release as to such
employer or insurance carrier for the portion or portions of the
claim released, but shall not constitute a bar to a recovery from any
one or all of the remaining employers or insurance carriers for the
periods of exposure not so released.
In any case where a compromise and release agreement of a portion
of a claim has been made and approved, the employee may elect to
proceed as provided in Section 5500.5 against any one or more of the
remaining employers, or against an employer for that portion of his
exposure not so released; in any such proceeding after election
following compromise and release, that portion of liability
attributable to the portion or portions of the exposure so released
shall be assessed and deducted from the liability of the remaining
defendant or defendants, but any such defendant shall receive no
credit for any moneys paid by way of compromise and release in excess
of the liability actually assessed against the released employments
and the employee shall not receive any further benefits from the
released employments for any liability assessed to them above what
was paid by way of compromise and release.
In approving a compromise and release agreement under this
section, the appeals board or referee shall determine the adequacy of
the compromise and release agreement as it shall then reflect the
potential liability of the released exposure after apportionment, but
need not make a final actual determination of the potential
liability of the employer or employers for that portion of the
exposure being released.
A determination of facts by the appeals board under this
chapter has no collateral estoppel effect on a subsequent criminal
prosecution and does not preclude litigation of those same facts in
the criminal proceeding.