Sued for injury? Check if workers’ comp paid out — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Sued for injury? Check if workers’ comp paid out

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If your company is sued by someone other than your own employee for an injury that occurred on your premises, it’s worth finding out if the injured person collected any money under workers’ comp. That can easily happen if the person was traveling on business.

Here’s why you should check:
Some states require that injured employees who collect workers’ compensation and also sue a third party for those injuries must reimburse the workers’ comp insurance carrier for anything they collect from the third party, up to the amount they already received. This is known as subrogation. It makes suing your company less lucrative, and the individual usually will accept a smaller settlement. Simply put, it becomes too much trouble to continue the lawsuit against you because it’s unlikely the plaintiff will receive any additional money.

Recent case: Gay Miller, a flight attendant for US Airways, suffered an injury at the Charlotte Airport. The injury happened at one of the airport restaurants. Miller was based in Pennsylvania, so Pennsylvania workers’ comp law covered her. She got $207,000 in workers’ comp benefits but still sued the restaurant.

The restaurant offered her $13,000. The court told her if she accepted the settlement, it would be sent to the insurance carrier because Pennsylvania law requires subrogation. Unless the case netted her more than $207,000, she wouldn’t see a penny. (Miller v. HMS Host Family Restaurant, No. 3:06-CV-53, WD NC, 2008)

Final note:
Had she been covered by the North Carolina workers’ comp law, the court could have let her keep any money from the second lawsuit.

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