May 2015 Subrogation Newsletter
Imagine opening the door to your condo only to be confronted by several inches of standing water. The first call is to your insurance company, which must then consider not only mitigating, adjusting, and paying the claim, but subrogating against those responsible for the loss. Determining who is liable for such damage can be tricky. Condo associations carry insurance for common areas while condo owners carry coverage for their unit’s interiors, including walls, flooring, and contents. An even bigger obstacle may be overcoming state law and certain declarations intended to bar a unit owner (or their insurer) from suing/subrogating against another unit owner. Knowing the law in this area from state to state becomes critical in evaluating subrogation potential.
The ongoing saga in Pennsylvania – colloquially referred to as the “reluctant plaintiff problem” – has perhaps come to an end. Section 671 of Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Comp Subrogation Statute couldn’t be clearer. However, that hasn’t stopped opponents of subrogation from arguing that the carrier does not have a right to initiate a third-party action because the subrogation right contained in § 671 does not rise to the level of an “assignment” and the carrier cannot file a subrogation action on its own. On April 17, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Domtar Paper Co., 2015 WL 1888572 (Pa. 2015) may have finally put the argument to rest.
Montana businesses are learning the hard way the cost of electing a Democrat governor. The Montana Legislature represents a Republican majority that understands the vital role that a business-friendly environment plays in stimulating the real job creators – small businesses. On April 20, 2015, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 288, making it easier for Montana’s employers to recoup medical expenses they or their workers’ comp carrier expend on behalf of an injured employee. Known as “subrogation”, this right of reimbursement exists and works effectively in every state, but Georgia, and plays a key role in helping to hold down one of the largest expenses for small businesses – workers’ comp insurance premiums. The trial lawyers cried foul and, on April 29, 2015, Governor Bullock vetoed the business-friendly Bill.
Gary Wickert will be presenting a complimentary webinar on Colorado Automobile Subrogation: The Nuts And Bolts on July 14, 2015 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. (CDT). This webinar will cover the nuts and bolts of auto subrogation in Colorado, touching on every topic imaginable, including PIP, Med Pay, UM/UIM, property claims, deductible reimbursement, no-fault subrogation, suspension of driver’s licenses, and more. For more information on this webinar and/or to register for it, click HERE.