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Vocational rehabilitation services settlement   

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(a) Settlement or commutation of prospective vocational rehabilitation services shall not be permitted under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5000) or Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 5100) of Part 3 except as set forth in subdivision (b), or upon a finding by a workers' compensation judge that there are good faith issues that, if resolved against the employee, would defeat the employee's right to all compensation under this division.

(b) The employer and a represented employee may agree to settle the employee's right to prospective vocational rehabilitation services with a one-time payment to the employee not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for the employee's use in self-directed vocational rehabilitation. The settlement agreement shall be submitted to, and approved by, the administrative director's vocational rehabilitation unit upon a finding that the employee has knowingly and voluntarily agreed to relinquish his or her rehabilitation rights. The rehabilitation unit may only disapprove the settlement agreement upon a finding that receipt of rehabilitation services is necessary to return the employee to suitable gainful employment.

(c) Prior to entering into any settlement agreement pursuant to this section, the attorney for a represented employee shall fully disclose and explain to the employee the nature and quality of the rights and privileges being waived.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 6, Sec. 64.)