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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today

In The Travelers Indemnity Company of America v. Jerry Jarrells, a 7-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Boehm writes:

The Worker’s Compensation Act provides that if an employee has received worker’s compensation benefits and then recovers damages from a third party for the same injury, the employee is to reimburse the amount of benefits. The trial court held that under the instructions in this case the jury had already deducted the amount of worker’s compensation payments from its award and there was therefore no recovery for injuries previously covered by worker’s compensation. The Court of Appeals reversed, taking the view that the jury’s award included amounts to be repaid. We agree that both interpretations are plausible but hold that the trial court’s reading in this case should be affirmed. The employee is therefore not required to repay his employer’s worker’s compensation carrier after receiving a judgment against a third party tortfeasor. However, in future trials where the trier of fact finds that the evidence establishes that the plaintiff has received payment for some of the damages from other sources, the award should include those damages, but only to the extent that the evidence establishes an obligation to repay.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 27, 2010 02:30 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions