What is Workers’ Compensation Subrogation

Keis George litigates workers’ compensation subrogation in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. We also litigate out-of-state workers’ compensation policies on claims involving injury in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Once an employee files a workers’ compensation claim and a third party is involved, there may be an opportunity for subrogation recovery, credits, and reimbursements. Our attorneys collaborate with carriers to review and analyze files, identify third-party responsibility, and propose a strategy to pursue recovery through complex litigation. We determinedly pursue all effective avenues of subrogation for carriers.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Subrogation

The purpose of workers’ compensation is to ensure that employees are not left to bear the financial burden of workplace injuries or illnesses. This includes covering the cost of medical treatment, as well as providing compensation for lost wages and other expenses related to the injury or illness.

This insurance is usually provided through a state-run program or a private insurance company. Workers’ compensation is a key safety net for employees, it is important that employers are aware of the laws and regulations related to workers’ compensation and that employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities in the event of a workplace injury or illness. It is also a protection for employers as it limits the extent of their liability in case of workplace injuries.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Subrogation

The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling in Bureau of Workers’ Compensation v. Verlinger, 153 Ohio St.3d 492, 2018-Ohio-1481 makes it clear that third-party liability insurers making payments for injuries and damages from an on-the-job accident must provide prompt notice of its subrogation interests to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (Ohio BWC).  Otherwise, the liability insurer can be jointly and severally liable with the injured worker for any and all payments subsequently made by the Ohio BWC under the workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, the Court explained in reaching its decision that Ohio Revised Code 4123.931 provides the Ohio BWC a subrogation interest in all payments from a responsible third party to an injured worker for damages arising out of a work-related injury and requires the third-party payer to give the Ohio BWC notice of its payments and subrogation interest.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Subrogation

The Illinois workers’ compensation law is detailed in 820 ILCS 305. Specific to subrogation is section 305/5. There are two parts of that section that are of particular importance. One is the application of a lien on the injured employee in any personal injury action they bring against the at-fault party. If the employee and/or their representative are notified of a lien on any recovery, the carrier may recover from the proceeds of any settlement or judgment. The recovery is reduced by a twenty-five percent attorney fee for the insured’s representative and a pro-rata cost of any expenses. Second, there is a ninety-day rule that the carrier may not file a subrogation action, unless, within ninety days of the relevant statute of limitations, the insured has not filed his or her own suit.

Indiana Workers’ Compensation Subrogation

One of the most relevant cases in Indiana is “Harding v. City of Evansville” from 1999. Harding concerns the right of subrogation in workers’ compensation cases. The Supreme Court of Indiana held that an employer’s right of subrogation is not limited by the fact that the third-party tortfeasor’s liability is based on strict liability rather than negligence.

Another relevant case is “Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Co. v. Wilson”. This case is from 2000 and it concerns the right of subrogation in workers’ compensation cases. The Supreme Court of Indiana held that an employer or insurer’s right of subrogation is not limited by the fact that the third-party tortfeasor’s liability is based on strict liability rather than negligence.

Common Cases of Qualifying Injuries

Most workers’ compensation cases begin with the carrier or employer placing a lien on the injured worker’s personal injury recovery. The worker may have the right to recover from a third party but must acknowledge a lien for payments made on medical treatment, lost time, and indemnity. Therefore, when the at-fault third party pays a judgment or settles a claim against a third party, you as the carrier or employer may have a right to a portion of the recovery. We litigate a full range of workers’ compensation subrogation disputes:

  • Accidents on another company’s property;
  • Defective industrial equipment incidents;
  • Defective machinery Incidents;
  • Employee injury;
  • Failure to notice;
  • Improper maintenance and repair problems;
  • Out-of-state lien;
  • Recovering attorney fees by the carrier;
  • Restricting attorney fees claimed by the injured worker’s counsel;
  • Subcontractor negligence;
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits; and
  • Vehicle accidents.

What Must Be Proven

There are many business and policy factors to consider in a workers’ comp subrogation claim. Evaluating the initial claim and starting with your file can be complex. If you are on record having disputed the claim or any of the benefits, the case for subrogation can suffer. As it is your right to recover your lien, we will review such factors as preparing an intervention to protect your lien and allocating the third-party recovery. Other risks of litigation, such as contractual limitations to subrogation, indemnity issues, statutory defenses and contributions, liens, and the Made Whole Doctrine may prove that the third party is not worth pursuing.

The Experience You Need: Keis George Subrogation Lawyers

Keis George employs a unique approach to workers’ compensation subrogation, working directly with claims professionals to identify third-party responsibility and pursue recovery through complex litigation in Illinois and Indiana. Ohio claims are handled on a case-by-case basis. Our subrogation attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience working with clients and experts to maximize recovery in workers’ compensation subrogation. From pursuing files involving automobile accidents to manufacturing incidents of defective or faulty machinery, our efficient and comprehensive litigation strategy will redefine what it means to recover your money faster. For skilled analysis and determined representation of your file, schedule a consultation with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys.