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Is there anything I can do to get the defendants in my workers-comp case to follow through with the settlement agreement?

Birmingham, AL |

I accepted the settlement offer from the defendant. We met with the Judge to get the courts approval, then the company attorney scheduled a time for me to come in and sign the papers. One hour before the appointment time the company lawyer sent me an email and called me telling me not to come in. He said they have an issue to work out with their client. When I asked him how long he thought this might take he said, after he works this issue with his client. It was my understanding that after we met with the judge we had everything settled. The attorney had to make a couple of changes to the agreement per the judge then I could sign the papers. Thanks

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Attorney answers 1


I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Whenever I settle a workers' compensation claim for a client, I will not proceed with court approval unless the attorney for the insurance carrier has the settlement proceeds and brings them to Court at that time. That way, I can avoid any delays in payment. I also review all paperwork well in advance to make sure my client's rights are protected and the terms are fair.

As for your situation, based on your comments that the paperwork needed changes and your signature, I think it is completely justified for you to ask and expect an answer from the company attorney concerning the time frame for completion of the deal. In the meantime, you need to be aware that your case must be filed or settled before the statute of limitations expires.

The fact that the Judge in your case required changes to the paperwork also makes me question the terms of your agreement. Any settlement should be based on fair terms that adequately protect your rights to benefits under Alabama law. Where the terms are fair or understood by the worker, Judges typically approve the settlement. If the changes at issue in your case are truly minor, then the settlement should be able to be completed quickly. However, I would encourage you to get some legal advice before agreeing to any changes that impact your legal rights, including your right to future medical care.