This car accident case, which occurred on U.S. Highway 221 in Spartanburg County, grew out of a workers’ compensation case you can read about here. This case was called a “third-party action” under workers’ compensation law. In addition to fighting a hard-nosed insurance carrier in the workers’ compensation case, our firm had to make sure we handled this case very carefully, since the workers’ compensation law has complex rules about filing lawsuits involving workers’ compensation claims. If we didn’t follow those rules, our client could lose all her workers’ compensation benefits – including her right to lifetime medical care for being declared permanently and totally disabled.
We carefully followed the rules to get the lawsuit filed right. This case also shows the importance of underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). The drunk driver who changed our client’s life forever had only $30,000 of liability insurance to compensate her for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from severe injuries that required a spinal operation and prevented our client from ever working again. Fortunately, our client had the wisdom a long time before this to get UIM coverage. We were able to make a successful claim against her UIM coverage. We settled the claim for $125,000 – all the $30,000 liability and the rest from our client’s UIM.
In settling the claim, we had to be extremely careful to get the settlement approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. This also requires following very specific rules. Failing to follow them can cause the injured worker to lose the right to worker’s compensation benefits. Before the Commission could approve it, Rob had to get all parties in both the accident case and the workers’ compensation case to agree to the settlement. As part of the settlement, Rob also had to negotiate a workers’ compensation lien made by the workers’ compensation insurance company to repay it from the car accident settlement. In this case, workers’ compensation benefits exceeded the available amount of insurance from the car accident case. Rob was able to negotiate with the carrier to accept $10,000 to settle its lien. The most satisfying part of this very hard case was preserving our client’s right to all her workers’ compensation benefits and getting money in her pocket in the car accident case, even if available insurance fell well short of what she went through.