April 2017 Subrogation Newsletter
ROBOCLAIMS: When Robots Injure Humans
Around the world, robots are increasingly being used to perform menial and complex labor tasks in the home and in the workplace. Robots harvest crops, groom animals, package products, excavate minerals, and move merchandise. Police use robots to check buildings to pinpoint the location of criminals. Hospitals program robots to perform surgery. Like any machine, however, robots aren’t perfect. It may sound like science fiction, but robots can and do injure and kill people. When they fail, there can be catastrophic results which lead to catastrophic claims. Claims handlers will need to be prepared for claims involving robot defendants.
IMPUTED CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE: Maximizing Auto Property Subrogation When Your Insured Wasn’t Driving
When your insured (owner of a vehicle) entrusts his or her vehicle to a permissive user who is then involved in an accident which results in damages to the owner’s vehicle, the question arises as to whether the fault of the permissive user should be “imputed” to the insured and, therefore, reduce the amount of which the insured’s carrier can recover in subrogation. After all, the owner didn’t cause the damage to his vehicle. For example, if the permissive user is 25% at fault and the tortfeasor is 75% at fault, and the damage to the owner’s vehicle is $10,000, can the owner or his/her subrogated carrier recover the full $10,000 from the tortfeasor, or only $7,500? The answer might surprise you, and certainly will confuse you. But, it absolutely can be put into practice to increase your auto property subrogation recoveries.
New Nevada Supreme Court Decision Does Significant Damage To Workers’ Compensation Subrogation
In what seems like a decision out of Bizarro World, on April 7, 2017, the Nevada Supreme Court in Poremba v. Southern Nevada Paving, 2017 WL 396094 (Nev. 2017) issued an opinion that minimized the value of a workers’ compensation carrier’s future credit after a third-party settlement or recovery. In other states that provide for a future credit upon a third-party settlement, the carrier is relieved from making future medical or indemnity benefit payments until every cent of that recovery has gone to paying medical expenses or indemnity benefits that workers’ compensation would have paid but for the recovery and the resulting credit. This appears to no longer be the case.