A Section 32 settlement permanently closes a workers’ compensation claim in exchange for a lump-sum payment or structured settlement with annual payments.
Once you accept a Section 32 settlement, you forfeit future medical and lost wage benefits from the claim. However, partial settlements may address either medical or lost wage benefits while leaving the other type of benefit open.
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board must approve all Section 32 settlements.
Key Considerations for Section 32 Settlements
You should think about the following before accepting any Section 32 settlement.
- Your future needs. Once you accept a settlement, it cannot be undone. Negotiate for the maximum amount you can receive.
- Be aware that in many cases, you’ll receive less money in a Section 32 settlement than you would if you received ongoing benefits.
- Settlements may impact Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance coverage for work injury care. Check with each provider before settling, as some require special arrangements, such as the creation of a Medicare Set-Aside account.
- Remember, some insurers make low offers hoping workers will save them money by taking quick, unfair payouts.
Remember, you are not required to accept any settlement offer. Consult with an attorney to ensure your settlement offer is fair before you sign away your rights.
When a Settlement May Make Sense
Consider a settlement if any of the following conditions exist.
- You’re dealing with financial and medical hardships after numerous benefit denials.
- You’re struggling with ongoing fights over medical treatment approvals.
- Your employer is playing games with light duty or is attempting to violate doctor’s orders, and you’re repeatedly struggling with them over these issues.
A lump sum or structured settlement may provide a predictable income that lets you locate a new job or pay for the care you desire. You must budget carefully, however, as you’ll have to pay your treatment costs out-of-pocket once the settlement money is all gone.
Some workers wait until their treatment needs are very clear before they settle, so they know exactly how much money they’ll need.
Get Legal Advice Today
Signing a Section 32 waiver is a major decision. Need help? Call us. We’re workers’ compensation experts who are ready to help you with your case, and we’ll be happy to evaluate your offer to determine if it is fair and reasonable.