A Section 20 is one of two types of settlements that may be awarded in a New Jersey worker’s compensation case. The other type is called a Section 22.
Here’s what you need to know about both types of settlement.
Section 22 Settlements
A Section 22 settlement is a settlement wherein the employer pays for a portion of your disability. The percentage would be a percentage of what would be paid out for a body part over time, i.e., 30% of the knee, with amounts set by the New Jersey body part schedule.
In a Section 22 settlement the employer does admit that the injury to that body part happened on the job. A Section 22 does allow for the modification of claims as necessary
Section 20 Settlements
A Section 20 is a one-time lump sum payment and is considered a full and final dismissal of the claim. You accept one dollar amount that ends your case forever. The employer accepts no liability for your accident. They’re essentially saying, “We don’t agree this is a work injury, but we’ll pay you to avoid arguing about it or litigating it.”
A Section 20 is only allowed in cases where there is a “genuine issue of dispute.” This means there may be a dispute as to whether there was a real link between your work and the injury, which is the most common type of dispute. Other genuine issues could include issues as to whether you are classified as an employee, or whether there’s a lack of agreement on the nature and extent of your disability.
A Section 20 does not bar dependants from filing a claim if you happen to die from your injuries.
Which settlement is right for you?
A Section 20 settlement does keep you from ever reopening the claim. It also means the employer is no longer responsible for providing you with medical care.
Yet if you really have the type of issue of dispute that would make a Section 20 available to you then it may be a greater risk to try to push the matter to trial. You should also keep in mind that you, the employer, and a judge must all agree to the Section 20 before it is allowed to become official.
Obviously you should not be making guesses here. You should consult with your workers compensation attorney before making any decisions about taking any settlements whatsoever.