Settling a Workers Compensation Case
Settling a workers compensation case is very serious because you’re in settling your case, you sign away your right to receive any future weekly benefits or medical care related to your case. It is important to understand that settling should not be taken lightly. When it comes to medical treatment, many people think, “No problem. I’ll just put the medical treatment through on my own insurance.” Please do not assume that you will be able to do that. All private health insurance policies contain an exclusion which precludes that health insurance carrier from paying for any treatment resulting from a work-related injury. You cannot assume that your private health insurance will pay for any treatment.
Also, for those who are Medicare-eligible, you cannot assume that Medicare will pay for any treatment related to your injury at work. In fact, if you are Medicare eligible, we are obligated to take some of the settlement funds from your workers compensation case and put them aside in what we call a Medicare set-aside account and you pay for any treatment related to your workers compensation claim with those funds.
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Technically speaking, that Medicare set-aside account is to be used only for treatment that Medicare would otherwise cover themselves. The point is that, once we set up a valid Medicare set-aside, you can put your medical treatment related to your workers comp case through Medicare after that set-aside account runs out.
With all the associated risks, you shouldn’t agree to settling a workers compensation case without having your lawyer involved. It’s too risky because too many problems can occur. It’s called a Section 32 settlement because it’s based on Section 32 of the Workers Compensation Law and there are many documents that must be signed. Many Section 32 settlements result in a hearing before a judge who is tasked with making sure you know what you are getting into – and what you are risking – by signing off on your workers compensation case.
If you need legal guidance and help settling a workers compensation case, please call our office today to speak with one of our experienced Buffalo workers compensation lawyers.