Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

What is a Section 32 waiver agreement?

It can be difficult for New Yorkers to get by after being injured in a workplace accident. Of course, they oftentimes have physical pain and suffering that can be difficult to cope with, but they usually face financial challenges, too. Those who choose to seek workers' compensation benefits and are successful in doing so may be able to recover compensation, though, which may help offset medical expenses and lost wages.

When workers' compensation benefits are awarded, they are paid out on a periodic basis. For many injured individuals, this works perfectly because the payments fall into a similar pattern, if not the same, as their pay period prior to their injury. This can make budgeting easier.

However, some injured individuals don't want to wait for periodic payments. After all, going through additional medical evaluations to determine whether additional treatment is necessary and whether an individual can return to work can leave the continuation of those benefits in question. For these individuals it may be worth considering what is referred to as a Section 32 waiver agreement.

These agreements allow an injured worker to negotiate a settlement with a workers' compensation insurer whereby a lump sum is paid in exchange for the claim being closed forever. This means that regardless of the actual losses suffered by an injured individual, he or she will only receive the one-time lump sum payment.

While a lump sum payment may be appealing and even beneficial, before agreeing to a Section 32 waiver agreement an injured individual needs to have a complete understanding of his or her injuries, the extent and duration of treatment he or she will need, and the amount of lost wages he or she will likely incur. By acquiring this information, an individual can negotiate an agreement that leaves him or her in a strong financial position. Failing to conduct diligent research, though, could leave an individual being taken advantage of by the insurance company.

With so much at stake, those who have suffered a workplace injury should think about how best to protect themselves, their legal rights, and increase their likelihood of success. Competent and experienced workers' compensation attorneys can assist in such an endeavor.

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