Worker’s comp claim could proceed despite settlement with third-party tortfeasor

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Jimmie C. Smith (“Smith”) appeals the dismissal of his Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board (“Board”). The sole issue presented is whether Smith’s worker’s compensation application was properly dismissed pursuant to the subrogation portion of the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act (“the Act”), Indiana Code Section 22-3-2-13, after Smith settled his claim against a third-party tortfeasor.

Conclusion (slip op. at 6):  We conclude that Smith should be allowed to proceed with his worker’s compensation claim that was pending at the time of the settlement. Reversed and remanded.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 5, 6):  Smith correctly observes that there may be some potential, in furtherance of the humane purposes of the Act, for some supplemental payment from an employer after the injured employee has recovered from a third-party tortfeasor an amount less than the “apparent worker’s compensation benefits” before the worker’s compensation claim was resolved . . . Champion did not contest the adequacy of the settlement even though it was aware of the third-party claim, asserted its statutory lien and accepted payment from the settlement proceeds. Champion cannot now be heard to complain.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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