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What is a Section 32 Settlement?

If you’re in the midst of a workers’ compensation claim in New York, you may be eager for a resolution of your claim(s). You may have heard of Section 32 settlements, which offer workers’ compensation claimants in a one-time lump sum payment that resolves either all or a portion of an injured worker’s claims. While Section 32 settlements can be a great solution for some, they’re also accompanied by certain risks. Read on to learn if you’re a good candidate for a Section 32 settlement.

How do Section 32 settlements work?

Section 32 settlements offer injured workers a one-time tax-free payment to a worker in exchange for that worker’s promise that he or she will no longer pursue their workers’ compensation claim(s). Most Section 32 settlements resolve both the worker’s lost wage payments as well as their medical claims. However, sometimes insurers will agree to settle only the lost wages claims. An insurance carrier may make you a Section 32 settlement offer, but you should spend time with your attorney calculating what you believe you should receive in lost wages and medical payments before accepting such an offer, to ensure that it is fair and will provide for your needs.

Your doctor should be able to tell you whether or not you will need a medical care en future, and how much that care is expected to cost. If you anticipate needing to pay for a great deal more medical care, the settlement may need to include a Medicare Set Aside (MSA). This portion of your settlement is intended to be used only for future medical payments. Once the MSA is depleted, then Medicare should cover your injury-related expenses, though likely not to the full extent that workers’ compensation would cover these expenses.

Should I consider a Section 32 settlement?

New York places a cap on the number of years that workers with a permanent partial disability can collect weekly workers’ compensation payments. This might make a lump sum settlement of those payments more appealing  to some claimants under certain circumstances. It is important to reach an accurate projection of the amount in lost wages you anticipate receiving to settle your claim(s) for a fair sum,  for and the amount and extent of future medical care, if required

A Section 32 settlement might be a great solution for you if your medical claims are largely understood and resolved. If your doctor is unable to say with certainty how much more care you will need, or cannot opine how successful any future surgeries may be, then accepting a Section 32 settlement could be risky.  Unless settlement of your compensation claim is for lost wage benefits only  (indemnity settlement only) such settlement may leave you with a limited sum to pay for additional care if such settlement includes  your medical benefits.  Additionally if you re-injure yourself at work, your Section 32 settlement could affect future lost wage benefits and medical care for such re-injury. It is critical to speak with an experienced and trustworthy attorney before accepting a Section 32 settlement.

If you have been hurt on the job in NYS and need help understanding the multiplicity of complex issues affecting your Worker’s Compensation claim vis-à-vis a Section 32 settlement, or any of the other issues surrounding a NYS Retirement Disability case, a Worker’s Compensation case, or a Social Security Disability appeal, feel free to contact Peter M. Cordovano at 845-691-4200.

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