Thanks for reading our Workers Comp 101 series! These articles are designed to help people understand their rights as it relates to workers compensation law in New York State. Be sure to read our other article on topics ranging from Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) awards to Can I Return to Work and Collect Workers Comp?Be sure to download our Workers' Comp 101 eBook! It contains a lot of great information to help understand workers comp!
Why Settle Your Case?
Claimants and carriers settle cases for different reasons. Generally, Carriers simply want to limit expenses and liability as soon as possible.
Claimants settle for variety of reasons. Perhaps there is some weakness in their case. Perhaps they are tired of the fight. Many times, they will treat a settlement as recovery for the financial and emotional loss resulting from the injury, notwithstanding the fact that the Workers' Compensation Law does not provide for such recovery.
In any event, a settlement should fairly reflect the reasons for the agreement and be reached with an understanding of how it will affect the carrier's exposure and the claimant's future well-being.
What is a Section 32 Settlement?
Section 32 Agreements allow the claimant to waive the right to any or all past, present or future indemnity and medical benefits.
If the claimant agrees to waive the right to all future indemnity and medical benefits, the employer and the carrier obtain full release.
Section 32 settlement agreement waives all rights to compensation or only some rights (i.e. agreements that reserve the right to medical treatment but waive future indemnity benefits).
Once an agreement on the terms of the Section 32 settlement is reached by the parties, the agreement is drafted and signed by all parties. The signed agreement is forwarded to the district office of the board, reviewed for completeness by an examiner, and scheduled for a hearing before a WCLJ.
Another issue that should be considered (when relevant) is the question of any existing child support lien. It has long been the policy of the Board that when a claimant owes a past due child support obligation, the Board will not approve a Section 32 agreement involving that claimant unless the agreement provides that the support obligation will be paid in full out of the settlement proceeds.
The agreement must be accompanied by a properly completed, signed and notarized claimant's release Form C-32.1. Form C-32.1 contains a statement that claimant affirms, under penalty of perjury, that the information provided on the form is true and accurate.
The amount of the Section 32 settlement is determined by agreement of the parties and varies greatly from case to case. Many settlement parameters range from four to nine years of weekly benefits, or waiving a Workers' compensation lien in conjunction with a 3rd party settlement.
Come back Next Week for more on Section 32 settlements!
**This information is based on New York State. Each state may be different. This blog post is for informational purposes. Your specific circumstances may vary from the information provided. Every case is different. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes. The contents contained in this post do not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please contact us before sending confidential or time-sensitive material**