Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Forced Subrogation by the Insurer/Underwriter?

Insurance underwriter sues driver for workers’ compensation payments

Source: Madison-St. Clair Record
April 13, 2015

A Madison County insurance company filed suit on behalf of its client for a workers’ compensation claim it had to pay when its employee was injured in a traffic collision.

Twin City Fire Insurance Co., on behalf of Juneau Associates Inc. PC, filed the lawsuit against Scott Heatherly of Granite City on March 27 in Madison County Circuit Court, alleging vehicular negligence in a 2013 accident.

The plaintiff underwrites workers’ compensation insurance policies for Illinois companies. Its client, Juneau Associates, is an engineering firm headquartered in Granite City, and Scott Ryan was an employee of Juneau, operating a motor vehicle in his capacity as an employee.

According to the complaint, the defendant sped past a vehicle operated by Ryan while driving south on Madison Avenue in Granite City on April 2, 2013. The lawsuit states that Heatherly swerved his car into the path of Ryan’s vehicle, striking the front driver’s side of the car.

In response to the collision, Ryan steered his car onto the curb and sidewalk, according to the lawsuit. The suit alleges Ryan sustained back injuries requiring treatment and surgery. He subsequently filed a worker’s compensation claim for which the plaintiff has paid $165,000 to date.

The complaint alleges that Heatherly was negligent by driving excessively fast, maneuvering his vehicle directly into the path of Ryan’s car, colliding with the car and failing to decrease his speed and operate his vehicle safely.

Twin Cities, as subrogee of Juneau, seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. The firm is represented in the case by Jeffrey Arnold of Whelan Arnold in Downers Grove.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-400


I think that this is a good thing because there is nothing an employer can do to prevent an accident that is someone else's fault.

In accidents that are the fault of another party, I ALWAYS have the insurance carrier file a notice of subrogation (in case the employee sues). Some employees will wait until they exhaust work comp benefits to sue. This is so that they can "double-dip."

Thank you for reading.