The statute reads: "Except in the case of settlement by agreement by the parties to, and during a trial of, such an action at law, no settlement by agreement shall be made with such other person without the approval of either the board, the reviewing board, or the court in which the action has been commenced after a hearing in which both the employee and the insurer have had an opportunity to be heard."

The department provides an opportunity for a hearing, but most petitioners opt for a paper review.

Is this review mandatory? Yes. This is most often asked by an attorney with a signed release and a check that is ready to be cashed. The statute is clear on this point. The agreement, when approved, is enforceable in superior court.