Where the employer becomes liable for workers’ compensation benefits as a result of the negligence of a third party, the employer has a right of recovery, also referred to as a right of subrogation, against the negligent third party. The employer’s subrogation rights are covered by Labor Code §§ 3850 – 3865, which include credit provisions and reimbursement provisions. However, the workers’ compensation statutes governing actions against third parties do not define the substantive law regarding recovery in civil action. The law that usually governs actions against third parties is general tort law. In order to protect your subrogation interests an action is filed in Superior Court in the venue where the accident took place. MS&A attorneys handle cases in every venue throughout the state of California.
An employer who is obligated to pay workers’ compensation benefits or has paid benefits as a result of an injury caused by a third party has three courses for pursuing reimbursement from the third party:
- The employer may bring an action directly against the third party.
- The employer may join as a party plaintiff or intervene in an action brought by the employee.
- The employer may allow the employee to prosecute the action and then apply for a first lien against the resulting judgment or settlement.
*MS&A is equipped to handle all subrogation matters to best meet the needs of your program. Please contact a member of the MS&A team for options to handle your case on an hourly or contingency basis.