Q: My husband was in a car accident in 2018 while at work and did have major back surgery, why does he have to pay bk wc
he settled with WC and now has just won his first part of the lawsuit and now has the 2nd part going. Lawyer is holding first check because they said that NC law says they can't pay him out until 2nd part is settled, we were not aware of this upfront, and we were not aware that he would be having to pay back WC now until we went to mediation, which is another thing we don't understand why are we having to pay back for an injury that has changed his life forever, and why we weren't told this upfront. He is also fighting disability now too and his old boss said he paid for the WC benefits and doesn't understand why he has to pay it back.
A: The reason is that in the lawsuit you are obtaining compensation for the same things that are being paid by work-comp so that work-comp should be repaid. It is possible there may be exceptions and potential to negotiate how much they need to pay based on strength of liability, limitation of insurance amount and other issues.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
I’m sorry your husband had such a significant injury. If this is a North Carolina claim, it is correct that the law allows the workers’ compensation company to recover what they paid for workers’ compensation benefits when the injuries were caused by a third party who was at fault. The concept is twofold- that the injured party doesn’t get a “double recovery” and the workers’ compensation company gets reimbursed if someone else hurt their worker.
There is a provision in the statute (N.C.G.S. §97-10.2) that allows the injured worker to challenge the amount that the workers’ compensation company can recover. The personal injury case (the claim against the person at fault for the injury) allows the worker to recover for pain and suffering, while workers’ compensation does not allow any payment for pain or suffering. A judge can determine if the workers’ compensation company should be paid back in full from the personal injury settlement. Making a decision about filing such an action depends on many different factors, which are best determined by an attorney with experience in handling these types of dual claims.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
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