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Under the provisions of by Ala. Code § 25-5-56, the trial court must approve any agreement compromising an injured worker’s benefits in order to be enforceable. Under that rule, an Alabama appellate court affirmed a finding that a settlement agreement that had been signed by the parties and submitted to the trial court for approval, but that had not been so approved at the date the worker died of unrelated causes, could not be enforced against the insurer. The estate administrator argued that an earlier case, Large v. Hayes, 534 So. 2d 1101 (Ala. 1988), was dispositive. There a minor and an insurer entered into a settlement agreement and the minor died before the court could approve the agreement. In the instant case, the court noted a significant difference. In the case of a minor, the agreement was voidable by the minor, but not by the insurer. Here there was no legal disability, as was the case with a minor. There was a statutory requirement that a trial court approve the agreement. There was no statutory authority to approve it after the worker’s death.
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).
LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.
See Tate v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 2015 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 145 (June 26, 2015) [2015 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 145 (June 26, 2015)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 132.06 [132.06]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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