July 2015 Subrogation Newsletter
Insurance companies faced with first-party claims are responsible for paying the actual cash value or market value of an insured’s vehicle so the insured can replace it with a similar vehicle. The insurer may also be responsible for reimbursing an insured for other costs associated with purchasing a new vehicle, such as sales tax, title, and vehicle registration fees. The details of when and whether a state requires first-party and/or third-party claims to compensate a claimant for sales tax paid on a vehicle determined to be totaled or on its replacement vehicle have not been uniformly developed into a body of rules. However, a good starting point for legal research or any discussion on the subject should begin with our new chart “Recovery of Sales Tax After Vehicle Total Loss in All 50 States”, found HERE, which depicts the relevant laws on the subject across all 50 states.
As the employee leasing business continues to grow, Oklahoma law has struggled to grow with it. When and under what circumstances a leased/temporary employee can sue a third party who is also a customer of an employee leasing company has for years been a mystery. Many hoped that the recent Supreme Court decision of Broom v. Wilson Paving & Excavating, Inc. would have cleared up much of the mystery. While it did help answer some questions, this area of the law is still not crystal clear. Until recently, neither Oklahoma case law nor Oklahoma’s workers’ comp statute dealt directly with the Exclusive Remedy Rule in connection with employee leasing situations. We are beginning to see development of law in this area and the Broom case is a good start.
On July 1, 2015, Ohio Governor John Kasich sided with trial lawyers and approved an omnibus amendment as part of the state budget which detrimentally affects Ohio’s small businesses and the valuable subrogation rights of health plans by curtailing their reimbursement rights for medical expenses paid resulting from a tortious act. This subrogation-damaging amendment was introduced under the cover of darkness and without opportunity for public debate. The bill repeals current § 2323.44, the statute that created the Ohio Subrogation Rights Commission, and creates a new § 2323.44 that significantly changes Ohio’s subrogation laws. Trial lawyers care more about the size of their fees than the financial health of Ohio and Governor Kasich apparently agrees with them. Governor Kasich’s attack on subrogation is a big deal for Ohio insurance companies and health plans struggling to keep premiums low for Ohio residents. This new law goes into effect on Sept. 28, 2015.
The 6th Edition of our book, Workers’ Compensation Subrogation In All 50 States, was just released by our publisher, Juris Publishing, Inc. This one-of-a-kind book is carried on the shelves of every law school in the country and is considered the authoritative resource on the subject. There are few areas in which the laws of each state vary more and are applied as differently, than in the area of workers’ comp subrogation. This book is intended to introduce workers’ comp claim handlers, in-house counsel, and subrogation professionals to some of the esoteric and complex subrogation issues encountered in today’s workers’ comp insurance subrogation marketplace. In addition to being an excellent primer on workers’ comp subrogation, suitable for new subrogation professionals and seasoned veterans, the book also contains a detailed synopsis of the workers’ comp subrogation laws in each of the 50 states.