A Section 32 settlement is a lump-sum settlement that ends the entire claim or an annual payment that closes the claim. Once you agree to a Section 32 settlement, the workers’ compensation claim closes forever and may not be reopened.
Once you accept a settlement, the insurance company usually stops paying for medical benefits and indemnity (lost wage) benefits. Some Section 32 settlements only address your claim’s medical benefits or indemnity portion. In those cases, the insurance company may continue to pay the other part of the claim.
All Section 32 settlements must be approved by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board.
What else should you know about a Section 32 waiver?
You should consider your future needs, and you should know that this is a settlement agreement, so the settlement is up for negotiation. You could end up with more money than you would have gotten with the settlement, but you may also end up with less. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact amount that you’ll receive.
If you have Medicare or Medicaid, you may see work-related claims denied if you take a Section 32 waiver. In addition, your regular health insurance may not pay for any future care since the workers’ compensation insurance company is the primary insurance company for work-related injuries.
Before agreeing, you should check with these companies to ensure you understand the implications for future insurance claims. Sometimes, they will cover the costs if you meet certain conditions. For example, Medicaid may ask you to place the money into a Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) account.
Finally, if the insurance company offers a Section 32 claim, you should know you don’t have to take it unless you want to. Nevertheless, it’s good to have a lawyer review the offer to see if it’s fair. Some workers’ compensation insurance companies lowball workers, hoping to make them disappear.
When should you consider a Section 32 claim?
You should consider a Section 32 waiver if you have struggled through multiple denials.
In some cases, it’s easier to get a year’s worth of indemnity benefits to live off while you find a new job, for example, than it is to keep fighting with the company to receive your benefits. It’s hard to try to live on indemnity benefits if the insurance company keeps trying to yank your benefits every three weeks or so.
In addition, if you are struggling to get your medical benefits approved, it may be easier to take the money and use it on the medical care you want and need than it is to continue attempting to strong-arm the insurance company to approve the treatment. Unfortunately, once the money runs out, it is gone, and you will have to pay for any remaining medical treatments out-of-pocket. Some workers wait until they know
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Signing a Section 32 waiver is a serious decision, and most people should go over their options with a lawyer.
Contact our office to get help today.