People who suffer a work-related injury or illness may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation. There are many different types of workers’ compensation benefits under New York law. The most common are medical bill reimbursement or payments, and up to two-thirds (2/3s) of lost wages. Individuals may also qualify for other benefits for retraining or if there is a permanent disability caused by an injury or illness. Although most types of workers’ compensation benefits are paid on a regular basis like a paycheck, there is something called a section 32 waiver agreement. If you have a workers’ comp claim and hear about this term, you should call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC right away.
That is because, once you sign this waiver and the process has been approved and the waiting period elapsed, it is near impossible to reopen. Thus, it is critical to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side to review this agreement. Here at O’Connor Law, our experienced and compassionate team can help you navigate the often confusing and complex web of WC claims. We have the proven experience and ability to handle the most complicated claims, helping workers and their families maximize their benefits and protect their rights. To learn more about your rights, call to schedule a free consultation on how we can help you.
Generally, there are two ways that a workers’ compensation claimant may recover benefits. The first is through periodic payments. This functions like a paycheck would and is the most common way that payments are made. The second is through a lump sum settlement agreement. That is where a section 32 waiver agreement comes in.
Under New York workers’ compensation law, a section 32 waiver agreement is a negotiated lump sum agreement between you and the WC carrier. It means that your ongoing and future workers’ comp payments will be settled and stopped in exchange for a one-time lump sum payment or annuity. That means you will no longer get any more workers’ comp payments, and instead get one check.
Instead of receiving continued benefits, you may want to settle for a lump sum now that you can take to use for other needs you have. This includes moving or getting a home or apartment that better fits your needs after your workplace accident or injury. It could also include adding certain things to your home like a ramp, elevator, or lift that is not covered and you do not have enough money for. Other times you may just want the lump sum know to put it into an annuity or to invest if you think that you can grow it faster for your future needs than the periodic payments.
The idea is that you will have more money now that you can use for needs you have now, as opposed to collecting sporadic checks and just having enough to cover bills and current expenses. Thus, if you are good at budgeting your money, a section 32 waiver agreement is a great idea.
After you agree to settle your workers’ comp claim with the carrier, you must advise the Workers’ Compensation Board of your decision. When you do that, the Board will examine the settlement and submit it to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for approval. This is often through a formal hearing, but it may be through less formal means in certain instances.
Once the ALJ approves your settlement, the Board will advise you of a 10-day waiting period. During this time, either party may freely rescind or withdraw from the agreement. That means you can renegotiate terms or you can revert back to periodic payment.
Once that waiting period has elapsed and the Board gives notice that the decision is now final, the carrier has 10 days to make the lump sum settlement payment.
The process to receive a lump sum settlement is not offered to all claimants. If it is offered to you, it is optional to agree to. Whether a Section 32 waiver agreement is best for you should come after consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in NYC like ours. There are many pros and cons that you need to assess to be sure that this is the right decision, and we can help.
If you have been offered a section 32 waiver agreement and are unsure whether it is appropriate for you, please call our experienced NYC workers’ compensation lawyers to learn more about your options. Our compassionate team can help you and your family recover the compensation that you deserve after your work-related injury or illness and determine whether a lump sum settlement payment is right for you. To schedule a FREE consultation to learn more about your rights and how we can help you, please call (844) 692-6671 or by sending us a private message through our “Contact Us” box available here.