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Car Crash while Working? Workers Compensation Lien must be Paid

Car crash while working? You must pay Workers' Compensation back. One of the main reasons to hire an attorney familiar with both workers' compensation and personal injury (automobile accident and injury claims) is that you have options at the end of your claim as to what you must repay to workers' compensation out of your injury verdict or settlement. Personal injury, workers\' compensation attorney -- Joe Tunstall N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 97-10.2 (j) states "Notwithstanding any other subsection in this section, in the event that a judgment is obtained by the employee in an action against a third party, or in the event that a settlement has been agreed upon by the employee and the third party, either party may apply to the resident superior court judge of the county in which the cause of action arose or where the injured employee resides, or to a presiding judge of either district, to determine the subrogation amount."  N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 97-10.2 (West) Therefore, your attorney may find it appropriate to file a motion with the court asking the judge to set the amount of the recovery rather than merely repay the lien.  In the Leggett case, Joe Tunstall, filed a motion arguing why workers' compensation should recover none of the money from a client's serious injury.  The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial judge in allowing no recovery for the workers' compensation insurance company.   "N.C. Gen.Stat. § 97-10.2(j) grants the superior court discretion to determine the amount of the employer's lien when a settlement is reached between the injured employee and the third party tortfeasor. See id. The trial court may reduce or completely eliminate a workers' compensation lien if warranted by the facts, and this Court may not interfere absent an abuse of discretion."  Leggett v. AAA Cooper Transp., Inc., 198 N.C. App. 96, 100, 678 S.E.2d 757, 761 (2009). The Court of Appeals held that one reason for upholding the elimination of the lien was  "Plaintiff's evidence at the hearing included Plaintiff's testimony and eleven marked exhibits, including Plaintiff's medical records."  Leggett v. AAA Cooper Transp., Inc., 198 N.C. App. 96, 101, 678 S.E.2d 757, 761 (2009) N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 97-10.2(j) further states "The judge shall consider the anticipated amount of prospective compensation the employer or workers' compensation carrier is likely to pay to the employee in the future, the net recovery to plaintiff, the likelihood of the plaintiff prevailing at trial or on appeal, the need for finality in the litigation, and any other factors the court deems just and reasonable, in determining the appropriate amount of the employer's lien."  N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 97-10.2 (West). It is clearly not appropriate to file a 10.2(j) motion in every case with workers' compensation and liability proceeds.  The ability to know when to file the motion and when not to file the motion is why you pay an experienced attorney who handles these claims on a daily basis. If you have any questions regarding personal injury, automobile injury cases or how they affect your workers' compensation claim; feel free to contact our office.

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