In a recent case the employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier argued that they were not required to pay disability benefits or provide medical care because the injured worker had received a monetary settlement in the related third party personal injury case. The employer claimed a credit.
In the course of deciding the case the court explained how the workers’ compensation law allowing third party recovery credits was applied in that particular case.
California law allows an employer a credit against workers’ compensation benefits in cases of a recovery from a third party (generally, someone other than the employer or a co-worker) for the same work injury, unless there has been negligence on the part of the employer. Then it can get complicated.
The Workers Compensation Appeals Board has jurisdiction to determine whether the employer is entitled to a credit by considering such factors as 1) was the employer negligent in causing the work injury? 2) if so, to what percentage? 3) what is the reasonable value of the third party case had it gone to trial? Once these and other important factual issues are resolved, the employer’s entitlement to a credit, if any, is determined by the Board.
Typically the Board relies on evidence from a number of sources, including third party case attorneys and other experts.
It’s important to understand that every case is different and each case is decided based on it’s own facts, so the comments in this post should not be taken as legal advice or a prediction of any particular outcome in your case.