If you have been injured on the job and pursue a workers’ compensation claim, it could end in a voluntary settlement known as a Section 32 Waiver Agreement. It provides a lump sum settlement to pay for future lost income and medical expenses rather than ongoing weekly payments.
It is a formal agreement between you and your employer’s insurance company or its third-party administrator– who processes these claims. Signing any legal contract will impact your rights, so it is important to do this under the guidance of a New York personal injury lawyer.
The trade-offs of a Section 32 settlement
A Section 32 Waiver can be beneficial for claimants in certain situations, but they are not the right move for others.
If you do not have any liens or judgments against you, which would allow others to have access to the amount you recover, then it may help you receive the most compensation overall. It also allows you to limit the time you spend litigating the claim, removes the uncertainty over whether the case will be decided in your favor, and provides cash more quickly so you can pay any bills that are piling up.
On the other hand, by entering this settlement, you close the door to a potentially larger settlement down the line. If it takes you longer than you expected to get back to work, you cannot reopen your claim to receive additional compensation.
Since you give up some rights to obtain the benefits of a Section 32 settlement, always speak with an experienced lawyer. They can perform a detailed review of your future lost earnings and medical coverage to make sure a settlement offer would get you a favorable deal.
What is included in a Section 32 settlement?
A Section 32 settlement provides compensation for lost wages and medical bills related to a Workers’ Compensation case. The settlement amount depends on the amount that the insurance company or administrator expects to have to pay for lost wages and medical benefits in the future.
Injuries that occurred before March 13, 2007 and led to a permanent partial disability– qualified for benefits for the rest of the claimant’s life. For injuries that occurred after that date, however, the length of time a claimant can receive lost income is capped by law. Further, even injuries after March 2007 qualify for ongoing related medical care– potentially for life. Payments for future medical treatment, understandably, can be substantial.
Your personal injury attorney will take into consideration the extent of your injury, how long you should be out of work, and how much medical treatment you will need– to formulate a demand to settle your claim. It is important to work with someone experienced in these matters because the agreement is final and binding once signed.
How to enter a Section 32 waiver settlement
Before a waiver settlement can be made binding, the Workers’ Compensation Board must approve it. Once your attorney and the attorney for the insurance company work out the terms– they are used to draft a long, formal legal agreement. Your attorney should explain it to you in detail. At the formal hearing, the judge will ask you questions to make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities under the agreement.
Once the judge approves it, the decision will be filed. From that point, you should receive your cash within 10 days. Since the case will then be over, you will no longer need to participate in hearing preparation. In other words, you will be able to close the chapter of your life that was focused on the benefits litigation process.
Get guidance on your Section 32 Waiver Agreement
If you need to decide between continuing your New York workers’ compensation case or entering a Section 32 settlement, seek personalized attention from a New York construction accident attorney. The lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green in Manhattan are happy to serve those looking for advice. Call today to schedule a free consultation.