Occupational accident insurance provides coverage for work-related injuries and death to independent contractors not covered by workers’ compensation. Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer attorneys were at the forefront of occupational accident insurance subrogation nearly 20 years ago as the coverage began to proliferate among trucking companies as a way to cover owner-operators and contract drivers. In today’s gig economy, occupational accident insurance is widely utilized by on-demand contractors. Understanding the nuances of this state-law driven coverage is imperative to maximize subrogation recoveries. Because these policies are subject to state law an analysis of subrogation rights must be evaluated immediately for proper venue, choice-of-law arguments, and exceptions to state anti-subrogation laws. Failing to take prompt action often results in the complete loss of subrogation rights.
MWL also has experience defending claims by insureds against occupational accident insurers, minimizing exposure and compelling arbitration of such disputes.
Atlantic Specialty Ins. Co. v. Anderson, No. 15-C-06066-S6, 2017 WL 2709825, at *1 (Ga.State Ct. June 20, 2017) (finding Georgia’s anti-subrogation statute inapplicable to occupational accident insurance policy under exception for “accident-only” policies and because it was not approved by the Georgia Insurance Commissioner but delivered in another state.)
Nat’l Union Fire Co. of Pittsburgh, PA. v. Toland, 164 F.Supp.3d 1330 (D. Wyo. 2016) (Subrogation suit filed on behalf of occupational accident insurer after the parties settled around and successfully argued that Pennsylvania’s anti-subrogation law did not apply to motor vehicle accident despite contractual choice-of-law provision where suit was filed in Wyoming.)
Old Republic Life Ins. Company v. Michels Corp. and Minnkota Power Coop., 2:15-cv-00062-RRE-ARS (USDC, District of North Dakota) (Successful settlement of large loss occupational accident subrogation claim with severe crush injuries from unloading accident.)
Dries v. Onebeacon Am. Ins. Co., 2016 WL 755655 (W.D. Wis. Feb. 25, 2016) (Successfully sought dismissal under Rule 12(b)(3) to enforce arbitration provision in occupational accident policy pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act.)
Curran v. Germes, 2012 WL 12525505 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 11, 2012) (Represented occupational accident insurer and successfully argued for application of Pennsylvania law and defeated both the made-whole and common fund defenses.)