TRUCK BACK-UP ACCIDENT
$100,000.00 Policy Limit Settlement for an injured San Diego worker against a third party…
San Diego Workers' Compensation Attorney Mark C. Blane represented an injured worker against an at-fault third party when that third party negligently backed their Ford F-150 onto the left leg of the worker. The third party fled the scene of the accident without exchanging insurance information. Mr. Blane worked diligently to located the third party, and obtain his insurance information. The injuries required surgery on the knee; all medicals were covered under workers’ compensation. The policy limits of $100,000.00 were immediately extended soon after settlement negotiations began. All of the medical care was thankfully covered under California Workers' Compensation.
Surprisingly, the big issue with this case actually came after Mr. Blane secured the $100,000.00 Policy Limits. Under California labor code law, the money that paid for the injured worker's medical care (known as a work comp lien) can intervene on the lawsuit that is filed against any third party that caused the accident/injury that was not connected to the injured worker's employer. Since Mr. Blane found the at-fault party through his own efforts (remember the third party fled the scene of the accident in this case), and he filed a lawsuit to protect the client's two-year statute of limitations, the work comp assigned their interest to a local subrogation attorney to recoup funds back to work comp.
However, the defense attorney assigned to the case misinterpreted the California Labor Code and was demanding over $73,521.00 in medical care to be recouped back to work comp when there was only $100,000.00 in policy limits available and the at-fault party had no additional assets to pursue. Mr. Blane had to file and protect the client's interest with San Diego Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) to order work comp to lower its lien interest which would have become a "windfall benefit" to work comp to the detriment of Mr. Blane's client. Mr. Blane filed for sanctions, and prepared for a WCAB trial on the issue. On the morning of trial at the WCAB, the issue was settled by work comp significantly reducing their protected lien interest from $73,521.00 to $40,000.00. Mr. Blane also reduced his fees as a courtesy to the client since the client had no private health insurance (the worker no longer worked with the employer who covered his work comp claim), and still need future medical care. The case ended up with justice being delivered to the injured Escondido worker through the WCAB.