Settlements: Reopening: Materiality of Mistake

Harrison v. Liberty NW Ins. Corp. and Stillwater Mining Co. [05/12/06] 2006 MTWCC 22 Where Petitioner and insurer both operated under the mistake that Petitioner’s injury would not require surgical intervention when they entered into their settlement, the mistake is material when, as it turned out, Petitioner was required to have surgery to address his injury. The Court concluded Petitioner was entitled to reopen the settlement.
Gamble v. Sears [01/30/06] 2006 MTWCC 5 Where the record illustrates that both parties were mistaken as to the status of Petitioner’s neck injury, and mistakenly determined that Petitioner was at MMI for a soft-tissue injury or neck strain when she actually had an undiscovered odontoid fracture, this mistake was material to the settlement and is properly set aside.
Kraiter v. State Fund [5/11/99] 1999 MTWCC 35 Where claimant settled a claim for permanent total disability benefits relating to a right knee condition, he is not entitled to reopen his settlement on the claim that the parties were mistaken in not knowing that a left knee condition would develop. Any such mistake was not material to the settlement because permanent disability benefits are fixed and do not change based on change in medical condition, unless the medical condition changes for the better.