Monday, September 17, 2012

Court case on interest and subrogation

A few days ago the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a decision which concerns CIGA (Colorado Insurance Guaranty Association). In this case the Claimant had an industrial injury to his left index finger and it was amputated.
Regretably there were complications which led to a surgery which had its own complications. As a result the claimant sustained an anoxic brain injury and now cannot work at all. He resides in an assisted living facility for brain injured individuals. This claimant is now permanently and totally disabled. The claimant then filed malpractice claims against physicians and a hospital and recovered several million dollars. By statute a workers compensation insurer does have rights (subrogation) to proceeds actually collected. Apparently this subrogation lien was paid but CIGA asserted a right to the interest earned when some of the malpractice proceeds were invested and structured in amounts to be paid out over time. The court decided that the interest was not something the insurer was entitled to assert a subrogation lien against so CIGA lost the appeal. I see this as indicating that the claimants investment of his proceeds does not entitle the insurer to seek any part of the gain or interest from his proceeds. Of course the case goes into more detail and does point out that workers comp insurers are entitled to a subrogation lien on actual proceeds collected by a claimant in other claims which can come out of work injuries.