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Old 11-09-2009, 05:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Workers Comp beneficiaries

Hi, I am from PA. My ex, who was the injured party, lived in Texas. We were married and living in PA when he got injured and when his workers comp settlement happened. We were married only 2 years when he became a parapelegic due to being electrocuted on the job. We settled for a one lump sum while we were still married. The settlement included a large one lump sum and then monthly payments for 15 years to cover the balance that workers comp would not include in the one lump settlement. This settlement happened about 2000. We were divorced in 2004 due to him pushing me away. I was named in this settlement which stated that if he should die before all the money was paid, then the remaining payments would go to me. He tried to get a lump settlement on this a few years back and according to the company he was going to use to do this, I was required to sign off on it (which I would have gladly done) since I was named in it but it never panned out. I just found out that he committed suicide in May of this year. We were still friends and this was a shock to me.

Am I still entitled to these payments or does the divorce exclude me? There was also a life insurance policy that he kept my name on but the insurance company is saying that a law enacted in the 90's excludes ex spouses from receiving insurance money unless he stated I was an ex or there is sufficient evidence that shows he intended me to still have it. He left a suicide note stating that he did not want his daughter (his next of kin) to have anything from his estate but they are saying that since he did not sign the note, it is null and void. Any info that anyone can give me would be appreciated.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, what a sad story. I am sorry for your loss.

You need to ask for referrals to the BEST workmans comp attorney you can find. My husband was killed in a work accident two years ago and I made the mistake of NOT hiring the best---or assuming the one I had was good enough. The statute of limitations ran out for me so there is no hope left of recovery in some instances related to my husbands case, but the key was the attorney.

Shop around, talk to them. Workman's comp is not going to pay a dime they do not have to. In fact, they are trying to collect from my PERSONAL car insurance recovery--- since my husband was killed in a work truck, the claim I made against my OWN underinsured motorist policy with Allstate --they are attempting to take a third of that. Yep. Personal insurance policy I paid that had nothing to do with the accident (aside from an insured driver was a passenger in the truck). If you are going to prevail you need the BEST attorney you can find. And many will take the case on contingency. You have the workmans comp issue and the insurance/suicide issue---two BIG matters that need to be worked out by a skilled attorney, or bottom line--neither one will pay.
My personal opinion is workmans comp will not pay since you are an ex and not dependant upon his income--thats the point of workmans comp, to compensate the family (wife and kids or husband and kids) of whomever it was that was injured. If you are not married, you are ostensibly not entitled to those payments unless otherwise specified.

Also, I cannot see the insurance company paying out either. You really need an attorney --and a good one.
Good luck and I am sorry for your loss.
__________________
Grace

To ERR is human.
To FORGIVE is divine.
NEITHER is my policy.

Last edited by GentleGrace; 11-09-2009 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am at a loss here because I don't have any money to work on this. I did contact a lawyer about the life insurance money and he said that even though the law states an ex should not be paid, it cannot be proven that his intent was not to leave it to me. He may be willing to take the case. After I decided to keep this money if it was mine, the daughter has now decided to not speak to me as she feels she is automatically deserved of this money just because she is his daughter. (She is 21 and no longer a dependent.) She has had no contact with her father for almost 2 years and the last time I talked to him in March of this year, he told me he was done with her. I also have to consider what the note said. The policy will pay even though it was a suicide.

The work comp money is settlement money. Not payments that are being paid out because it is designated to be paid like all other work comp money. It is money that was being paid as part of the lump sum settlement contract. There is a very good attorney here that specializes in workers comp issues. I may call them.

Thank you very much for your kind words. I still cared about him when I left him. He admitted to me just last year that he faked online affairs so that I would leave because he saw my health deteriorating and he felt I didn't deserve that. He knew I wouldn't leave on my own. He had a friend send me a love letter that he wrote and sent to her so that she could send it to me to "pretend" to try and break up our marriage. His life has been very sad, very lonely. I am sick over it but the 2nd ex and his daughter are only seeing the money. I don't care if I don't get any of this money really. I just want to do the right thing by him. If this was some way of him apologizing or thanking me, then I would gratefully accept it and be thankful for the blessing. "The man reaches from the grave and pulls the blessings from the sky."
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Update

I called the Life Assurance company that was paying out the monthly payments on the workers comp settlement. They told me that they had no one as the beneficiary (which is not true as I saw that part of the settlement contract with my own eyes) so they are paying the monthly payments to an account set up for his estate. Once the estate is closed those payments would go to whoever the Administrator names. The administrator happens to be his daughter. So it seems that the Life Assurance company has decided what to do with this money on their own. I don't think I have a chance at this money now.

The life insurance money is still being worked on. Seems that the insurance company has decided that even with the laws in both PA and TX, they still cannot exclude me as primary beneficiary because he never remarried but the Successor, his 2nd ex, also may have a claim as well. So what they have decided to do was to leave it in both of our hands to come to an agreement. Once we do, they will pay out whatever the agreement states. I have agreed and told the insurance company that I would agree to split the money 50/50. They conveyed that to his 2nd ex but she has yet to decide what she wants to do. We are supposed to get in touch with each other to come to a verbal agreement and then get a lawyer, which I will pay for, to write up a legal and binding agreement. I called her leaving a message, asking her to call me but she has yet to return my call. I also found out that her husband lied to the insurance company and told them HE was the administrator and he would handle getting them the death certificate. I called the county where my ex lived and talked to the probate court and they told me the daughter was the administrator. We have 3 weeks to make a decision OR the insurance company is turning it over to the courts to decide, which will take a long time and cost court fees. If we agree they would settle within weeks, writing a check to both of us. I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that she is going to let this go to the courts but from what the insurance company told me, she may not win either because she is also an ex. I can understand that there is a problem with these kinds of issues, hence the law changing to exclude ex's but I feel when it is a situation where the person with the policy does not remarry and doesn't change the policy, then why wouldn't an ex be considered as primary? This is so frustrating and I wish it were just over.
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