Nothing “warm and fuzzy” about “Blanket Releases”

On December 17th, 2007, the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission (“VWCC”)  rejected a settlement Petition for the compromise settlement of a Landau Law Shop comp client’s case.

Workers Comp Legal Assistant Dianna Meredith advised the Commission’s Claims Examiner that the settlement documents submitted by insurance defense counsel contained a “BLANKET RELEASE.” This experienced Abrams Landau workers compensation team member pointed out that such BLANKET RELEASES not only end the comp claim, but also extinguish any other legal rights the client might have against the employer, insurer or others involved in the file. Herndon Trial Lawyer Doug Landau explains that this would include defamation, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual assault, slander, battery, etc. The Commission did not process the papers drafted and submitted by insurance defense counsel. Rather, a corrected Petition and Order for Compromise Settlement were required. Shortly after the corrected paperwork was signed and submitted, the VWCC endorsed the Order for the payment of the settlement to Abrams Landau, Ltd.’s deserving client.

Virginia Trial Lawyer Doug Landau once again points out the importance of READING every document BEFORE SIGNING. He also reminds his clients and their families that “two heads are better than one.” Having a family member read over important documents is always a good idea. You do not have to be one of “The Best Lawyers in America” to understand this common sense approach to client protection. By having a member of the Landau Law Shop Team, “Super Lawyer” Doug Landau as well as a family member review important papers before signing, we hope to prevent insurance companies from sneaking in harmful language or “pulling a fast one.”

REMEMBER: Workers Comp Settlements are NOT always approved. The Virginia Workers Compensation Commission approves compromise settlements when they find the agreement to be in the best interests of the claimant (of their estate). This is for the injured worker (and their family’s) protection. Nevertheless, it is important to read papers BEFORE SIGNING.

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