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S32 Workers Comp Settlement Handbook Now Available

A 158-page handbook answering questions and explaining options and what is a fair settlement for injured workers in New York has just been published by former NYS Workers Comp Board Member Michael Berns.

New York, NY, July 06, 2012 --( Section 32 Settlements for injured workers in New York State seeking to close their workers compensation claims are the subject of a book just been published by former NYS Workers Compensation Commissioner Michael Berns, under the title “Workers Compensation Section 32 Settlements: a Treasure or a Trap?”

Berns explained that, despite the fact that Section 32 agreements, designed to close workers compensation cases forever, were authorized in late 1996 and started to appear at the Board in 1997, the Board has never issued any guidelines to help injured workers understand what these agreements can mean for them. The closest the Board has come to helping settlement claims was to establish an office called WAMO which was designed to help state -managed insurance companies ‘get more bang for their buck’, not for the benefit of injured workers.

“Having personally approved thousands of these agreements and continuing to get questions by e-mails and phone calls from claimants since my departure from the Board,” Berns stated, “I see that injured workers still have many questions about what is a fair agreement in terms of both dollars and medical expenses and their ability to return to the workplace. Unfortunately, their attorneys have limited time to explain all the details and future ramifications of the terms of the Section 32 waiver agreement.”

Covering the subject in 158 pages divided into 15 chapters, this handbook written for injured workers and their families as well as attorneys answers questions ranging from “What is a fair $ amount?” and “Who pays medical expenses and Medicare?” And “Do I need an attorney?” to “Can anyone take the settlement money?” and “What if I won’t take a settlement offer?” Berns explains how the Section 32 agreement came about, why no two agreements are alike, how an attorney can be instrumental in arriving at a fair settlement, and what it means financially to the injured worker and his family when the insurance company is no longer responsible for making up for lost wages or paying the injured workers medical bills.

Since his departure from the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board in 2008 after having served as a Commissioner/Board Member since 1996, Berns has been managing the website which weekly analyzes workers’ compensation court decisions as well as analyzing the impact of the Board’s rules and regulations and actual administrative practices in terms of how they affect injured workers and their employers. Many of these issues were discussed in Berns’ first book published shortly after he left the board: Behind The Closed Doors - An insider’s look at how things really work at the NYS Workers Compensation Board and how to fix them. Both books are available on-line: and
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Mike Berns

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