Maine Revised Statutes

§352. Lump-sum settlements

1. Agreement.  An insurer, self-insurer or self-insured group and an employer and employee may by agreement discharge any liability for compensation, in whole or in part, by the employer's payment of an amount to the employee if:
A. The insurer, the employer, the employee or the employee's dependents petition the board for an order commuting all payments for future benefits to a lump sum; [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
B. Six months' time has elapsed from the date of an injury; and [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
C. The provisions of this section have been met and the agreement has been approved by the board. [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
[ 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF) .]
2. Policy.  The board shall by rule adopt policies establishing the circumstances under which lump-sum payments may be approved under this section. The circumstances must be at least as restrictive as those set forth in this section.
[ 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF) .]
3. Review.  Before approving any lump-sum settlement, the board shall review the following factors with the employee:
A. The employee's rights under this Act and the effect a lump-sum settlement would have on those rights, including, if applicable, the effect of the release of an employer's liability for future medical expenses; [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
B. The purpose for which the settlement is requested; [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
C. The employee's post-injury earnings and prospects, considering all means of support, including the projected income and financial security resulting from proposed employment, self-employment or any business venture or investment and the prudence of consulting with a financial or other expert to review the likelihood of success of these projects; [1997, c. 654, §2 (AMD).]
D. Any other information, including the age of the employee and of the employee's dependents, that would bear upon whether the settlement is in the best interest of the claimant; and [1997, c. 654, §2 (AMD).]
E. The existence of a child support debt of which notification has been sent pursuant to Title 19-A, section 2360-A. [1997, c. 654, §3 (NEW).]
[ 1997, c. 654, §§2, 3 (AMD) .]
4. Procedure.  The board shall initiate the review within 14 days of receipt of a request for a settlement review. An employer is considered a party for the purposes of this section.
[ 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF) .]
5. Approval.  The board may not approve any lump-sum settlement unless there is an agreement pursuant to subsection 1 or, in the event the employer refuses to agree to the settlement, the board has reviewed the proposed agreement and finds it to be in the best interests of the parties, and unless:
A. The employee has fully participated in the review process, except in circumstances amounting to good cause; [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
B. The board finds the settlement to be in the employee's best interest in light of the factors reviewed with the employee under subsection 3; and [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
C. In the case of a lump-sum settlement that requires the release of an employer's liability for future medical expenses of the employee, the board finds that the parties would be unlikely to reach agreement on the amount of the lump-sum payment without the release of liability for future medical expenses. [1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF).]
[ 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §8 (NEW); 1991, c. 885, Pt. A, §§9-11 (AFF) .]
6. Monitoring of lump-sum settlement recipients.  The board shall establish and maintain a program to monitor the postsettlement employment experience of employees who settle their claims pursuant to this section to help develop future policy. The Department of Labor shall cooperate with the board in the establishment and operation of this monitoring program.
[ 1995, c. 560, Pt. G, §25 (AMD) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1991, c. 885, §A8 (NEW). 1991, c. 885, §§A9-11 (AFF). 1995, c. 560, §G25 (AMD). 1997, c. 654, §§2,3 (AMD).