Texas Court Upholds Law Against Double Collecting

February 6, 2003

The Amarillo Court of Appeals upheld a law preventing injured workers from collecting benefits for a work-related injury from two different sources. According to the Texas Mutual Insurance Company, the court ruled that a Houston man who settled out of court with his employer over an on-the-job injury is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Glen Everett allegedly suffered injuries to his left arm and wrist while working for The Finished Touch, a general contracting company in Houston. Everett filed a negligence suit against The Finished Touch, but later dropped it and filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits from Texas Mutual, which disputed the claim.

Before the parties could resolve the claim, Everett settled with The Finished Touch for $37,500.00. He later decided to re-file his claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Texas Mutual denied Everett’s claim, arguing that under the election of remedies law, he was not entitled to benefits because he received compensation for his injuries through the settlement.

The Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission (TWCC) disagreed, and ordered Texas Mutual to pay benefits to Everett. When the 127th District Court of Harris County reversed TWCC’s decision, Everett did not appeal, but TWCC did.

The Houston Court of Appeals’ caseload did not allow it to hear TWCC’s appeal, so it transferred the case to the Amarillo Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Texas Mutual. TWCC has filed for a rehearing.

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