The only way I can think that workers comp benefits would be paid back would be if there were fraud or an overpayment, but your posting does not refer to facts that give rise to these suggestions. Your brother should review this situation with the workers compensation attorney. Workers comp settlements redeem all liability with the exception of medical benefits, and maybe this is what the attorney meant, however I was not there so I can't know.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.
It sounds like there may also be a personal injury (PI) action arising from this incident. If that is true, then the workers' compensation carrier in most states has what is called the right to subrogation against the funds recovered from the third party. What this means is that the plaintiff is not allowed to recover twice. In the PI action, the medicals and any other amounts paid by the comp carrier should be included as part of the recovery, knowing that it has to be paid back.
It is presumed that it is included so it is important to include it! This can get tricky where liability is contested in the PI action, and often the attorney gets the comp carrier to reduce the amount it is owed to reflect the fact that the settlement does not adequately include all damage amounts. Your brother should discuss this with his attorney for clarification of these issues, so that he understands better why he has to repay the workers' comp carrier and what the amount of the settlement represents. Hope this helps.
JOYCE J. SWEINBERG ESQUIRE
Attorney at Law
105 A East Maple Avenue
Langhorne PA 19047
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.
It really depends on the context you are talking about. If your brother had a third party action for which he received a settlement, many state laws permit the workers' compensation carrier to recover a portion of their lien from medical and indemnity payments from the third party recovery. In NY for example, this recovery is statutory and the right exists regardless of notice in most cases.
WOW not one attorney who is licensed in Kansas has commented on this question. They are all out of State. If you brother fell on the job, he has a workers comp claim that will result in a settlement if there is any permanent injury. His workers comp carrier will also pay medical bills and some lost wages while he is recovering. However, if this accident happened to also be the fault of a third party that was not his employer or employee, he may have a case that can be brought and settled against that third party as well. However, in Kansas, the workers comp insurance carrier or employer MAY have a lien if the recovery is duplicative in the nature of the recovery made against the workers comp insurance carrier. Therefore, your brother needs to be sure he has an attorney who is familiar with KANSAS workers compensation laws as well as KANSAS personal injury law.