NEW JERSEY WORKERS' COMPENSATION
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Section 22 Order Approving Settlement
in New Jersey Workers' Compensation

In New Jersey Workers’ Compensation, a “Section 22” settlement, more formally known as an “Order Approving Settlement,” is a common route for settling workers’ compensation cases. Unlike the Section 20 settlement, which is full and final, Section 22 acknowledges the employer’s responsibility for the injury and leaves the door open for potential adjustments in the future.

A gavel approving that the injured worker in NJ will recieve a compensation based on the degree of injury.

What is a Section 22 Settlement?

A Section 22 settlement is an acknowledgment between the injured worker and the employer (or their insurance carrier) that the injury occurred during the course of employment and resulted in permanent disability. Here, the employer accepts liability for the injury. The worker receives compensation based on the degree of permanent disability they’ve sustained.

Key Features

Re-Opener Clause

The significant advantage of Section 22 over Section 20 is the potential to reopen the claim. If an injured worker’s condition deteriorates over time, they can revisit the claim to seek additional compensation. This is typically possible within two years of the last benefit payment.

Medical Benefits

Along with the compensation for the disability, the employer or their insurance carrier also typically continues to cover future medical treatment related to the injury.

Payment Structure

The compensation under a Section 22 settlement is often distributed as periodic payments depending on the percentage of disability paid as a function of the number of weeks for that particular percentage multiplied by the rate of compensation applicable to the injured worker. 

Why Choose Section 22?

A Section 22 settlement is often preferred when:

  • The injury’s link to the workplace is acknowledged on the record by the employer.

 

  • The exact future trajectory of the injury is uncertain.

 

  • The worker wishes to retain the possibility of revisiting the claim should their condition worsen.

 

The Court's Role

Like the Section 20 settlement, a Section 22 agreement requires the approval of a Judge of Compensation. The judge ensures the settlement is in the worker’s best interest and that the compensation is commensurate with the extent of the permanent disability.

 

A Section 22 settlement is an essential tool in the NJ Workers’ Comp system, providing workers with the acknowledgment of their injury, compensation for their disability, and the safety net of potential future adjustments. Consulting with an experienced NJ Workers’ Comp attorney is crucial to navigating and negotiating the best possible terms.

"(Joseph Dugan, a fireman, descended into the hold of a steamship to extinguish the fire, and 18 months later died from the effects of the burns he had received. The Philadelphia Fireman's Pension Fund refused to pay any pension to his widow and children because their bylaws provided that death must follow within 60 days after injuries were sustained.): This bylaw is not only unreasonable, but it challenges the working of the undeviating law of cause and effect. Hospitals, military and civil, contain innumerable case histories of patients who succumbed to the invader Death months and years after first crossed the threshold. It is common knowledge that the poison gas which entered the lungs of many soldiers in World War I did not finish its lethal work until years after it had started its grim, mordant process of destroying the lung cells. That the lifeline of survival should be kept operating a year or two after the shipwreck is not so extraordinary a phenomenon as to be adjudicated uninhappenble. The injuries Joseph Dugan incurred on March 8, 1942 never healed; the lowering into the hold of a burning ship never ceased until Joseph Dugan was lowered into his grave. (Dugan v. Fireman's Pension Fund of Philadelphia, 372 Pa. 29)."

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