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Claims Resolutions Structured Settlement Agreements

What is a Claims Resolution Structured Settlement Agreement (CRSSA)?

A CRSSA is a contract between injured worker, employer, and L&I to close a claim with periodic money payments. 

  • The injured worker agrees to give up their benefits such as permanent partial disability (PPD), time loss payments, vocational, medical treatment, and other benefits. The injured worker also gives up their right to reopen the claim for anything but medical. 
  • The injured worker gets an agreed upon money settlement, paid over time.

Who is eligible for a CRSSA?

  • Claim age: The L&I claim must be at least 180 days old.
  • Injured worker age: As of January 1, 2015: injured worker must be age 53 or over with an accepted WashingtonState workers’ compensation claim.  As of January 1, 2016: injured worker must be age 50 or over with an accepted WashingtonState workers’ compensation claim.

Where are the rules?

  • Claim Resolution Structured Settlement Agreement (CRSSA) rules are at WAC 296-14A

What are the advantages of a CRSSA?

  • Creative settlement options possible
  • Can work while receiving a CRSSA settlement
  • Can’t waive future claims for new injuries
  • 15% attorney fee cap if you have an attorney
  • Allows for early resolution/settlement of a claim
  • Medical reopening possible, as usual
  • Can pre-authorize some future medical
  • 30 day revocation of CRSSA if you quickly change your mind
  • Benefits (if being paid) are continued during negotiations

What are the disadvantages of a CRSSA?

  • Injured worker’s private information is subject to public disclosure. Privacy is lost.
  • Claim cannot be reopened except for medical.
  • Money pay out is over time with a small lump sum/structured payments.
  • Segregation of conditions raises significant Medicare and MSP issues. This can cause serious problems with Medicare and Social Security.
  • Claim closes; so medical treatment, vocational benefits, and time loss all end.
  • These agreements allow the employer and DLI to shortchange the injured worker.
  • Bogus IME’s together with hardball starvation tactics allow L&I and the employer to offer a ridiculous settlement, and the injured worker who needs the money will take that settlement.
  • Most reopening benefits are lost. 
  • The value of a CRSSA can be ruined or limited by:
    • Monies owed to DLI
    • Monies owed to OSE
    • Third party excess
    • Medicare
  • HERE’S THE PROBLEM 
    • Injured workers need money now, L&I and the employer can offer a ridiculous settlement. The injured worker who can solve some of their big money problems immediately with this settlement, will do so – and lose their claim.
    • Complex medical problems are almost always significantly worse, more complex, and more devastating than they appear.

How to get started?

Attorneys

  • Do I need an attorney? If you have a minor injury – probably not. If you have a serious  career ending injury – probably yes. 
  • Do I want an attorney? Maybe. These settlements can involve legal procedures and will have a major financial impact on injured workers.  Attorneys can inform injured workers of their rights and how the structured settlement will financially impact their future, compared to how keeping the L&I claim would play out. Attorneys may be able to obtain a larger settlement.

Timing of a CRSSA

  • Obtain, complete, and submit an application.
  • BOIAA receives, considers, approves application.
  • 30 day revocation period, no appeal.
  • CRSSA then effective according to its terms.

A Little Advice

  • If your L&I injury has caused an inability to ever return to work then do not agree to a CRSSA. You may qualify for a pension. Review this link to learn more about a pension, or let us show you how much a pension is worth. Contact us.

What’s Next?

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