The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that an injured worker and his employer cannot independently agree on a settlement if the North Carolina Industrial Commission has gotten involved in the claim, according to the Triangle Business Journal.
Danny Allred was injured in a motor vehicle accident while he was employee of Exceptional Landscapes Inc. in Hillsborough. Exceptional Landscapes did not have workers’ compensation insurance, even though it was required to by law. Allred filed a claim with the Commission and the case went to mediation. Allred ended up agreeing to accept a settlement of $26,000; however, his employer never submitted the settlement agreement to the Commission for approval, which it was also required to do by law.
The Commission conducted a hearing, and found that the settlement was “unfair and unjust” because the payment made to Allred didn’t pay any of his medical bills, and because the sum of $26,000 wasn’t enough, in light of Allred’s physical and vocational limitations at the time of the settlement. The Court of Appeals upheld the Commission’s ruling.