Does 3rd party settlement prevent me from getting back pay from WC?

by Vern
(Houma, LA)

I was working as a delivery driver for my company when I was rear ended by a sugarcane truck on the interstate. The other company's insurance adjuster met with me later that day to settle. I took it because I was having money trouble at the time. Then I started getting workmans' comp from my job and going to the chiropractor (October 2015).

In February 2016 I went to my employer's doctor for a second opinion. She told workmans' comp I can go back to work, but I was still hurting from neck and back pain. In March, workmans' comp cut me off and told me I can go back to work.

I then got a lawyer and told him what happened. He said he'd represent me. However, recently I had a deposition and a week after that my lawyer said the other lawyer found out I got a quick settlement from 3rd party and it waived all my rights to get workmans' comp back pay.

Is that true? Just because I took the settlement from a 3rd party, it prevents me from getting workmans' comp? This doesn't seem right to me. Can you explain this? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Does 3rd party settlement prevent me from getting back pay from WC?":

Vern (Houma, LA):

It is our policy here at not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate. Your best interests will continue to be served by heeding the advice and counsel of your attorney.

Your attorney is correct. You can't "double dip." In other words, you can't be paid twice for the same injury when the 3rd party who caused the accident, or the 3rd party's insurance company already paid you.

If you hadn't accepted the settlement from the at-fault driver's insurance company in the beginning, you likely would have been able to receive workers' compensation wage benefits.

Thereafter, you could have pursued the at-fault driver and the driver's insurance company for additional compensation, above what you received from workers' comp. This would include the remainder of your lost wages and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, you didn't do that.

Read more about Louisiana Workers' Compensation benefits here:
Louisiana Workforce Commission's FAQs for Disputed Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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