A workers comp waiver agreement is one of multiple ways to settle a case. The parties can structure a waiver agreement to settle the lost wages portion of a claim, the medical coverage portion of a claim, or both. There are benefits to each approach. These waiver agreements are known at the Board as Section 32 Settlement Agreements.
Indemnity Only Waiver Agreements
A workers comp waiver agreement may settle only the lost wages, or indemnity, portion of a claim. Under this type of waiver agreement, the medical coverage portion of the claim remains open. There are benefits to settling a case this way.
First, with a workers comp waiver agreement, the claimant will receive a set amount of money. Once the claimant receives payment, he or she no longer has to worry about fluctuations in the rate of weekly pay. Instead, weekly payments will stop and the injured worker will receive a lump sum of money. Second, the carrier will pay in a lump sum, not on a weekly basis. The present value of money is something every claimant should consider. A lump sum amount allows the worker to invest the funds and to pay off debts.
Third, the claimant may return to work after the case has settled with no implications on the money award they will received. Once the worker has received the settlement check, the carrier cannot retract payment if the worker goes back to work. Fourth, a workers comp waiver of future lost wages will typically result in less examinations from carrier medical consultants. Importantly, the carrier will no longer be concerned with cutting the weekly rate of pay. Finally, as medical coverage remains open on the file, the carrier will still be liable for expensive medical treatment, like surgery.
What is a Full and Final Workers Comp Waiver
A full and final workers comp waiver closes both the future lost wages and medical portions of a claim. These waiver agreements effectively close the entire workers comp case.
A full and final waiver agreement has the benefits of an indemnity only waiver, plus more. Once the case is closed, the insurance carrier has no more involvement with medical care. The injured worker can control his or her treatment decisions. There will be no more exams with carrier doctors to comment on the need for future treatment. But, importantly, treatment must be paid for out-of-pocket by the worker from the workers comp waiver settlement proceeds. Thus, for a worker who has severe injuries and future surgeries planned, they may not want to fully close the case. Doing so will shift the cost of care from the carrier to the injured worker.
An injured worker entering into a workers comp waiver agreement must know the implications of what they are agreeing to. Also, the agreement should be structured in a way that best fits the worker’s future needs. An experienced workers comp attorney can assist in negotiating a waiver agreement.