The Advantages and Disadvantages of Section 20 and Section 22 Settlements
When you have been hurt on the job in New Jersey, and have filed a workers’ compensation claim, you can let your claim work its way through the system or you can settle your claim with your employer and the workers’ compensation insurer. As a general rule, when you settle the claim, you accept some form of cash payment/s in exchange for giving up the legal right to pursue other benefits.
In New Jersey, there are two different ways that you can settle a workers’ compensation claim: under Section 20 or under Section 22 of the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws.
- Section 20 settlements—Under Section 20, if the workers’ compensation insurance company denies or challenges any part of your claim, you can agree to give up the right to all future work comp benefits related to or arising out of your injury in exchange for a lump sum payment. Your settlement is considered to be “with prejudice,” which means that it will be final, that you cannot reopen the same claim and ask for additional benefits, even if your medical health deteriorates because of the original injury.
- Section 22 settlements—Also known as an “Order Approving Settlement,” a Section 22 settlement is available for any type of workers’ compensation claim, including ones that have been approved by the workers’ compensation insurer. Under the terms of a Section 22 settlement, a permanent disability rating (agreed on by you and the insurer) is established, and periodic payments are made based on the New Jersey schedule of payments—in some cases, those payments may be converted to an annuity. A Section 22 settlement, however, is not “with prejudice,” allowing you to seek additional benefits if your medical condition deteriorates. To do so, however, you must reopen your initial claim within two years of the final payment made under the settlement agreement.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
At the Law Offices of Howard D. Popper, we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a work-related injury, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton.
We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingent fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.