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SunTrust Bank v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of Am., (03/28/2013)
The worker was injured in the course of his employment following a motor vehicle collision. He received workers' compensation benefits before filing suit against two third-party tortfeasors. Although the insurer timely intervened in the suit to protect its workers' compensation subrogation lien, the worker and the tortfeasors settled the case for a confidential lump sum without the insurer's knowledge, participation or consent. Among other terms, the settlement agreement included a conclusory statement that the proceeds of the settlement did not fully and completely compensate the worker for his injuries. The insurer filed its motion to enforce its subrogation lien, which the trial court granted.
On appeal, the estate administrator contended the trial court erred in finding the terms of the settlement agreement did not extinguish the insurer's right to enforce its subrogation lien. The court disagreed and held the insurer had the right to intervene and the trial court was required to conduct a hearing on whether the worker was fully compensated, so that the insurer could attempt to enforce its subrogation lien.