Illinois Trucking Company sues Ohio Employer ADT in 3rd Party claim in ladder accident


Palmer v. Freightliner (1st Dist., June 2008) Ohio employer, ADT was stuck with a 3rd party claim for contribution for negligence even though Ohio law prohibits 3rd party contribution actions in personal injury cases for claims against an employer where the employer provides workers compensation insurance coverage.

An Ohio security & alarm system installer, Palmer, employee for ADT was working on a 20 ft ladder leaning against a loading dock garage door at Freightliner’s Wood Dale, Illinois facility when a Freightliner employee opened the garage door. The ladder fell and Palmer crashed to the ground.

Illinois law allows an employer to be immune from direct suit by an injured employee but not free from suit brought by a primary defendant in a claim for contribution for partially causing the injury. In Ohio, an employer who complies with providing workers compensation insurance is immune from negligence suits in employee personal injury cases.

In an excellent analysis and application of the Restatement 2d of Conflicts of Law and prior Illinois Supreme Court law, the Palmer decision held that the Ohio employer could be sued for contribution for their share of negligence.

The general rule (per Section 146 of the Restatement of Conflicts) is that the local laws of the state where the injury occurred will determine the rights and liabilities of the parties in a personal injury action unless some other state “has a more significant relationship.”

Despite the fact that Palmer was an Ohio resident, an Ohio employee and paid Ohio workers compensation benefits, including a $7,500 settlement, Illinois had the “most significant relationship.” The court examined (1) place where injury occurred, (2) place where conduct causing injury occurred, (3) residence and domicile of all parties & place of business and (4) where the “relationship” of the parties was centered.

Illinois applies the principles of comparative fault to all parties in a personal injury accident. Freightliner was allowed to pursue a claim of some portion of blame on the Ohio employer, ADT.

Questions by Illinois employers on actions for indemnification, contribution or workers compensation lien recovery should be addressed by an Illinois workers compensation attorney with practical experience and knowledge in this specific area of the law.

Chicago Workers Compensation Attorneys -- http://wc-chicago.com 6-15-08


Illinois Workers Compensation -- Medicare Coordination Update


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have consolidated all Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) payment recovery for Auto, Workers Comp & Group Health plans into one Payment Recovery Center. The location provides payout information on conditional payments and coordinates recoveries. For specific Workers Compensation recovery coordination contact:

PO Box 33831
Detroit, MI 48232-5831

For Pay out and Recovery information Contact:

tel: (866) 677-7220 or (866) 677-7294 (TTY/TDD) fax: (734) 957-0998

The real news is the new MSPRC website for direct contact and a nice explanation of the MSPR form letters.

On May 20, 2008, CMS also issued a new memo indicating all future Workers' Compensation Medicare Set-Aside allocations must be calculated based only on life expectancy tables using Table 1 of the CDC Life Tables for Total Population.

Read the 5/20/08 CMS update memo online.

Questions related to Illinois workers compensation settlements and Medicare Set aside coordination should be addressed to our Chicago workers compensation attorneys.

Workers Compensation Attorneys http://wc-chicago.com 6-7-08

Illinois Employer Assignment of Work Comp Lien- must pay 25% Attorneys Fees


Normally an Illinois employer that pays workers compensation benefits is entitled to seek repayment of all amounts paid in any 3rd party personal injury action brought by the worker against a responsible 3rd party. In construction injury cases, that responsible 3rd party is often the general contractor or another contractor on the job site that are blamed for causing the workers’ injury.

In any lien reimbursement action where the employer seeks repayment from the proceeds of the personal injury law suit, Illinois law requires the employer to pay the injured workers attorney 25% of any recovery or reimbursement as attorneys fees. Therefore Illinois employers usually only obtain 75% reimbursement of amounts paid in workers compensation benefits. Meanwhile, the primary defendants will get to set off 100% of the workers compensation payments as a credit or set-off in any award against them to prevent a double recovery by the injured worker.

Where the employer was also negligent or partially responsible for causing the injury, a law suit for contribution is usually brought by the main defendants against the employer. To the extent that an employer is partially responsible for the workers’ injuries, the right to reimbursement will be reduced by the amount or % of negligence of the employer.

Section 5(b) of the Illinois Workers Compensation Act states:

“Out of any reimbursement received... the employer shall pay his pro rata share of costs… and expenses… and where the services of an attorney… of the employee… substantially contributed to procurement… of the proceeds out of which the employer is reimbursed, then, … the employer shall pay such attorney 25% of the gross… reimbursement.” 820 ILCS 305/5(b) (West 2006)

In a recent case, Evans v Doherty ( 1ts Dist., 4/25/08) the employer in a construction injury setting attempted to shirk payment of attorneys fees by giving an “assignment” of the employers workers compensation lien to the primary defendants. The employer had paid out $152,000 in workers compensation benefits and sold their right to reimbursement to Doherty and other primary defendants for the sum of $90,000. The employer in an argument too cute for the court said they received no reimbursement of their workers compensation lien but merely sold their rights to repayment in an assignment of lien. The Court said it was a distinction without a difference and ordered the employer to pay the 25% attorneys fees on the $90,000 they received.

Questions on Illinois workers compensation lien recovery and reimbursement should be addressed by an Illinois workers compensation attorney with practical experience and knowledge in this frequently changing area.

Chicago Workers Compensation Attorneys --WC-Chicago.com 6-07-08