Workers' Compensation

Delaware: Exchange of Correspondence Regarding “Resolved” Back Injury Constitutes a Binding Settlement Agreement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substantial evidence supported a finding by the Industrial Accident Board that a worker and his employer had settled the worker’s back injury claim where an examining physician (hired by the defense) wrote a report saying that as of the date of examination “any low back injury causally related to the work accident was ‘resolved’ and any ongoing symptoms were non-work related,” and attorneys representing both parties exchanged communications indicating that the employer would pay a number of outstanding medical bills and that the parties would consider the worker’s work accident and lumbar spine contusion “resolved.” Reversing a Superior Court decision that held the IAB’s decision finding a valid settlement agreement was unsupported by the evidence, the Supreme Court of Delaware acknowledged that the settlement language was “less than ideally clear,” since it lacked a complete release that would have avoided any question about its effect. Still, the IAB’s factual determination that the parties’ settlement precluded a future claim for permanent impairment based on the same “resolved” injury was supported by substantial evidence. The Court added that there was no question that the agreement was, as a legal matter, a binding contract supported by adequate consideration, and contained the precise term the worker claimed to have desired to exclude.

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 Christiana Care Health Services v. Davis, 2015 Del. LEXIS 575 (Nov. 3, 2015) [2015 Del. LEXIS 575 (Nov. 3, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 132.03 [132.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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