Workplace injuries and illnesses remain a serious concern. According to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), more than 108,000 workers’ compensation claims were filed in the state in the 2021 Fiscal Year (FY).
Approximately 75 percent of workers’ compensation claims in Washington are filed through the state fund, and 25 percent are handled by self-insured employers.
Following a job-related injury, workers need to know how to navigate the claims process and potential settlement options. You may have heard about settling your claim with something called a Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement or “CRSA” (formally known as CRSSA – Claim Resolution Structured Settlement Agreement). We want to make sure you have the knowledge and resources you need to proceed. Here, our Seattle workers’ comp lawyer provides an in-depth guide to the key things that injured workers know about a CRSA settlement.
Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement (CRSA): Explained
In Washington, a CRSA is a method of resolving your claim by agreement of the parties in exchange for a payment to the injured worker. In effect, it is a contract between L&I or a self-insurer and an injured worker. Here are the basics:
- What an Injured Worker Gets: With a CRSA, an injured worker will receive a monetary settlement in a lump sum, some form of structured payment, or a combination of both. There is no requirement in Washington that a worker has to take a lump sum or structured settlement as part of the CRSA, and workers have some flexibility in determining the best option for their situation. The amount paid out as part of a CRSA will depend on many different factors, including the severity of your injuries, your history of wages/earnings, your anticipated future medical costs, and your ability to negotiate.
- What an Injured Worker Gives Up: You should not enter a CRSA without a full understanding of what you are giving up in the agreement. In exchange for entering a CRSA, an injured worker has to give up their workers’ compensation benefits, including time loss compensation, PPD benefits, and medical coverage. With a very narrow exception for medical-only benefits, a worker must also give up their right to reopen their claim.
In other words, a CRSA is effectively a final settlement in a workers’ compensation case. These agreements are strictly regulated by Washington State law (RCW 51.04.063). You have 30 days to revoke a CRSA once you enter it.
Who is Eligible to Get a CRSA in Washington State?
Not every injured worker is eligible to see a CRSA settlement in Washington. Instead, there are specific standards that must be met. Most importantly, you will only be eligible for CRSA if:
- Your workers’ compensation claim is a minimum of 180 days; and
- You are at least 50 years of age.
Washington law does not allow younger workers (49 years of age or less) to get a CRSA.
All Ongoing Payments Must Continue Until a CRSA Settlement is Finalized
Neither L&I nor a self-insured employer has the right to cut off your benefits because you started negotiating a CRSA settlement agreement. Under Washington State law (WAC 296-14A-030), the entity handling your claim must “pay benefits to which the worker is entitled during any settlement negotiation until the agreement is final.” Until you actually have an approved and finalized CRSA in hand, you are entitled to receive your ongoing benefits.
How a Washington Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help With a CRSA
CRSAs are complicated. It can be difficult for injured workers to get full and fair compensation through a Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement. If you are considering your option for resolving your workers’ compensation claim through a CRSA, it is imperative that you have skilled legal representation. You need to know that you are getting full value in exchange for what you are giving up as part of the agreement.
The Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers at The Walthew Law Firm have the professional skills, legal knowledge, and proven experience to help clients negotiate CRSAs. We can review your case and help you determine if a CRSA is a favorable option given your specific circumstances. If it is, then our Washington workers’ compensation attorneys can help you take action to get a CRSA that provides you with the maximum available benefits.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Seattle
At The Walthew Law Firm, we know the ins and outs of workers’ compensation claims. If you or a family member were hurt on the job and you have any questions about Claim Resolution Settlement Agreements (CRSAs), we are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We represent injured workers in Seattle, King County, and communities beyond.