In the state of New York, a Section 32 waiver can be used to settle your workers’ compensation case. However, it should be considered carefully as it has serious legal implications for your medical future.
What is a Section 32 waiver?
A Section 32 waiver is a document stating the terms negotiated and agreed on by yourself or your attorney and your employer. It can either permanently close your case with a lump sum (if your injury is rather simple) or it can keep your case open to allow for future medical expenses while settling for your lost wages.
This waiver is optional, and the terms will not be negotiated by the Workers’ Compensation Board. At the end of your negotiations, the agreement is presented to the Board who can approve it if it is lawful.
Seek medical advice
If your medical practitioner believes that there is a chance you will need more treatment in the future, you and your lawyer should consider the option in the waiver that allows you to keep your medical expenses settlement open. Carefully consider your options before you sign anything.
If you agree to settle with a lump sum and close your medical expenses, and the money runs out, you will have to pay for it out of pocket. You will not be able to ask for any more money from your claim.
Won’t insurance cover me?
Private health insurance or Medicare may not cover future medical expenses related to your worker’s compensation injury.
This is especially true if you are on Medicare and do not set up a Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) account when you settle your claim. If you decide to keep your medical expenses claim open, MSA accounts are where your money will be deposited and how you will pay for your expenses.
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board has no authority regarding the federally-funded Medicare program.
Other matters can complicate your claim, such as if you owe child support, and other local and federal laws that change frequently. A New York lawyer can always best explain your options.