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Alabama: Asbestos-Related Claim Extinguished by Worker’s Death

January 20, 2017 (1 min read)

An Alabama employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits is extinguished by his or her death and the surviving spouse may not be substituted as a plaintiff under Rule 25 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, held a state appellate court. Accordingly, a trial court should have dismissed the employee’s claim where the employee died, allegedly due to work-related asbestosis, before the claim was adjudicated or settled. The court stressed that, unlike a tort action, a workers’ compensation claim is not considered an action that survives the death of an employee so that it may be continued in the name of a personal representative of the estate of the employee. The claim abates upon the death of the employee. Note that the court was silent on the issue of whether the widow could pursue death benefits.

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.

See Ex parte Thompson Tractor Co. (Franklin), 2017 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 14 (Jan. 13, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 89.03.

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