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California Workers’ Damages Practice

Whether you’re representing plaintiff or defendant, this resource delivers authoritative guidance that will allow you to vigorously advocate on behalf of your client.

“ I use this book whenever there's a crossover question between workers’ compensation and subrogation—it is the authoritative book on the topic.” 
Mark. A. Cartier, Thomas, Lyding, Cartier & Gaus, LLP, Walnut Creek

Whether you’re representing plaintiff or defendant, this resource delivers authoritative guidance that will allow you to vigorously advocate on behalf of your client.

  • How claims for workers’ compensation benefits interact with lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death damages
  • Exceptions to the rule of workers’ compensation exclusivity
  • Proposition 51’s effect on the apportionment of damages
  • Reimbursement and credit claims
  • Allocating and calculating damages
OnLAW WC94290

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Print WC33290

2d edition, looseleaf, updated 9/19

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“ I use this book whenever there's a crossover question between workers’ compensation and subrogation—it is the authoritative book on the topic.” 
Mark. A. Cartier, Thomas, Lyding, Cartier & Gaus, LLP, Walnut Creek

Whether you’re representing plaintiff or defendant, this resource delivers authoritative guidance that will allow you to vigorously advocate on behalf of your client.

  • How claims for workers’ compensation benefits interact with lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death damages
  • Exceptions to the rule of workers’ compensation exclusivity
  • Proposition 51’s effect on the apportionment of damages
  • Reimbursement and credit claims
  • Allocating and calculating damages

1

Concepts and Terminology

  • I.  SCOPE OF BOOK
    • A.  Topics Covered  1.1
    • B.  Topics Covered in Other CEB Books  1.2
  • II.  REMEDIES AND PARTIES
    • A.  Injured Worker’s Two Remedies  1.3
    • B.  Employer’s Rights and Remedies  1.4
    • C.  Categorizing Parties  1.5

2

Attorneys’ Obligations

  • I.  WORKERS’ COMPENSATION APPLICANTS’ ATTORNEYS
    • A.  Ensuring Representation for All Remedies
      • 1.  Recognize Potential Avenues of Recovery  2.1
      • 2.  Avoid Exposure to Malpractice Liability  2.1A
    • B.  Coordinating Remedies  2.2
    • C.  Limiting Scope of Representation
      • 1.  Need to Inform Client  2.3
      • 2.  Informing the Client  2.4
      • 3.  Sample Form: Cautionary Letter to Client  2.5
    • D.  Filing Claim as Malicious Prosecution  2.5A
    • E.  Avoiding Workers’ Compensation Fraud  2.5B
  • II.  PERSONAL INJURY PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS
    • A.  Ensuring Representation for All Remedies
      • 1.  Determining Whether Injury Arose Out of and in Course of Employment  2.6
      • 2.  Reasons to Pursue Workers’ Compensation Benefits  2.6A
      • 3.  Pursuing Both Remedies  2.6B
      • 4.  Identifying Exceptions to Exclusivity Defense  2.6C
      • 5.  Continued Representation After Unsuccessful Representation of Group of Workers  2.6D
    • B.  Limiting Scope of Representation  2.7
    • C.  Representing Both Worker and Employer  2.8
    • D.  Liability for Expert Witness Fees  2.8A
    • E.  Suits Against Plaintiffs’ Attorneys and Personnel  2.8B
  • III.  EMPLOYERS’ AND INSURERS’ ATTORNEYS
    • A.  Defending Civil Lawsuits  2.9
    • B.  Defending Workers’ Compensation Claims  2.10
    • C.  Suits Against Defense Attorneys and Personnel  2.11

3

Workers’ Lawsuits Against Third Parties

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  3.1
  • II.  CASE EVALUATION
    • A.  Pursuing Both Damages and Workers’ Compensation; Choosing Forum  3.2
    • B.  Damages Reduction for Prior Compensation  3.3
    • C.  Effect of Employer’s Concurrent Fault (Witt v Jackson)  3.4
    • D.  Applicability of Proposition 51  3.5
    • E.  Calculating Damages Reductions
      • 1.  Worker’s Fault  3.6
      • 2.  Prior Settlement Payments  3.7
        • a.  When Proposition 51 Does Not Apply  3.8
        • b.  When Proposition 51 Applies  3.9
      • 3.  Prior Workers’ Compensation Payments  3.10
        • a.  The Torres/Scalice Approach  3.11
        • b.  Applying Torres/Scalice Approach  3.12
        • c.  Other Approaches  3.13
      • 4.  Postverdict Settlements  3.14
      • 5.  EDD, Medical, and Other Liens  3.15
    • F.  Effect of Attorney Fees and Litigation Expense
      • 1.  Paying Plaintiff’s Attorney’s Basic Fee  3.16
        • a.  When Employer’s Reimbursement Exceeds Damages  3.16A
        • b.  Effect of Court or WCAB Fee Determinations  3.16B
      • 2.  Fee Recoverable When Employer Is Inactive  3.17
      • 3.  Fee Recoverable When Inactive Employer Has Assigned Reimbursement Claim to Third Party  3.18
    • G.  Effect of “Tobacco Company Defense”  3.19
  • III.  RECOGNIZING THIRD PARTY LIABILITY SITUATIONS
    • A.  Client Interview  3.20
    • B.  Interview Checklist  3.21
    • C.  Investigation  3.22
  • IV.  INITIATING THIRD PARTY LAWSUITS
    • A.  Contents of Complaint  3.23
    • B.  Meeting Time Requirements
      • 1.  Basic Personal Injury Limitations Statute  3.24
      • 2.  Special Limitations Statutes
        • a.  Asbestos Exposure  3.25
        • b.  Exposure to Hazardous Materials or Toxic Substances  3.25A
      • 3.  Claims and Suits Against Public Entities  3.26
      • 4.  Amending the Complaint; Relation Back  3.27
      • 5.  Substituting True Names for “Does”  3.28
      • 6.  Obtaining Damages Before Benefits  3.29
    • C.  Serving Complaint on Employer and DIR  3.30
    • D.  Intervening in Employers’ Lawsuits
      • 1.  Intervening to Avoid Limitations Statute  3.31
      • 2.  Time to Intervene  3.32
  • V.  PROCEDURAL STEPS BEFORE TRIAL
    • A.  Avoiding Dismissal for Lack of Diligence  3.33
    • B.  Pursuing Discovery  3.34
    • C.  Pursuing Judicial Arbitration  3.35
    • D.  Making and Responding to Written Offers to Allow Judgment (CCP §998)  3.36
    • E.  Seeking Preferential Trial Setting to Preserve Damages  3.37
  • VI.  SETTLEMENT
    • A.  Participants
      • 1.  Three-Party (Worker, Employer, and Third Parties)  3.38
      • 2.  Worker and Employer  3.39
      • 3.  Worker and Third Party  3.40
      • 4.  Worker and Fewer Than All Potential Third Parties  3.41
    • B.  Notice of Settlement
      • 1.  When Notice Required  3.42
      • 2.  Sample Form: Notice of Settlement  3.43
      • 3.  Notice to DIR for UEBTF  3.44
    • C.  Court and WCAB Approval
      • 1.  Court Approval  3.45
      • 2.  WCAB Approval  3.46
      • 3.  Providing for Medical and Other Liens  3.47
      • 4.  Effect of C&R on Later Lawsuit  3.48
  • VII.  TRIAL
    • A.  Attorneys’ Roles  3.49
    • B.  Evidence
      • 1.  Proving Liability
        • a.  General Rules  3.50
        • b.  Product Liability Cases
          • (1)  Injury to Worker  3.50A
          • (2)  Injury to Member of Worker’s Household  3.50B
      • 2.  Using Safety Statutes, Regulations, and Orders  3.51
      • 3.  Proving Damages  3.52
    • C.  Using Special Verdict Forms  3.53
    • D.  Giving Posttrial Notice of Judgment  3.54
  • VIII.  PARTICULAR BASES FOR RECOVERY
    • A.  Medical Malpractice
      • 1.  Malpractice During Treatment of Industrial Injury  3.55
        • a.  Employer’s Claim for Reimbursement or Credit  3.56
        • b.  Punitive Damages  3.57
      • 2.  Malpractice During Defense, Preemployment, or UR Examination  3.58
      • 3.  Medical Confidentiality; Invasion of Privacy; Inaccurate Reports  3.58A
    • B.  Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
      • 1.  Worker’s Right to Recover  3.59
      • 2.  Reductions for Workers’ Compensation  3.60

4

Lawsuits Against Employers

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  4.1
  • II.  EXCLUSIVE REMEDY RULE
    • A.  Statutory Source and Constitutionality  4.2
    • B.  Nonretroactivity of 1983 Changes  4.3
    • C.  Interaction With Federal Remedies  4.4
    • D.  Underlying Theory: The Compensation Bargain; “Quid Pro Quo”  4.5
    • E.  Persons Subject to Exclusivity
      • 1.  Injured Worker and His or Her Dependents  4.6
      • 2.  Worker’s Child  4.7
      • 3.  Worker’s Parent  4.8
      • 4.  Illegally Employed Minor  4.9
      • 5.  Persons Assisting in Active Law Enforcement  4.9A
    • F.  Kinds of Injuries Subject to Exclusivity  4.10
    • G.  Avoiding Exclusivity by Indirect Recovery From Employer  4.11
    • H.  Liberal Construction and Exclusivity  4.12
    • I.  Employer’s Waiver of Exclusivity Defense  4.13
    • J.  Effect of C&R on Employer’s Damages Liability  4.13A
  • III.  PROCEDURAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • A.  Pleading
      • 1.  Need to Allege Exceptions to Exclusivity  4.14
      • 2.  Naming Employer in Suit Against Third Party  4.15
    • B.  Establishing Court’s Jurisdiction  4.16
      • 1.  Precedential Jurisdiction (Jurisdiction to Determine Jurisdiction)  4.17
      • 2.  Stay or Abatement of First-Filed Proceeding; Res Judicata  4.18
    • C.  Meeting Time Limitations  4.19
  • IV.  ASCERTAINING APPLICABILITY OF EXCLUSIVITY
    • A.  Condition of Compensation Absent  4.20
    • B.  Specifically Excluded Workers  4.21
    • C.  Particular Employment Relationships
      • 1.  Hirer of Independent Contractor  4.22
        • a.  Unlicensed Contractor Presumption  4.23
        • b.  Unlicensed Worker Hired by Dwelling Owner  4.24
      • 2.  General and Special Employers
        • a.  Defined; Exclusivity Immunity for Both  4.25
        • b.  Categorizing Employers and Potential Tortfeasors at Jobsite  4.26
        • c.  Determining Special Employment  4.27
        • d.  When General or Special Employer Is Uninsured  4.28
        • e.  Business That Provides Workers to Other Entities  4.29
      • 3.  Joint Employers  4.30
      • 4.  Concurrent Employers  4.31
      • 5.  Partnerships  4.32
      • 6.  Parent Companies and Subsidiaries  4.33
      • 7.  State as “Parent” of State Departments  4.34
      • 8.  Dwelling Owners  4.35
      • 9.  Hirers of Convicts and Inmates  4.36
  • V.  EXCEPTIONS TO EXCLUSIVITY IMMUNITY
    • A.  Physical Assaults
      • 1.  By Individual Employer  4.37
      • 2.  By Others, When Condoned by Employer  4.38
        • a.  Cases Finding “Condoning” or Ratification Liability  4.39
        • b.  Cases Rejecting or Limiting “Condoning” Liability  4.40
    • B.  Fraud and Other Intentional Torts  4.41
      • 1.  Fraudulent Concealment That Aggravates Injury  4.42
        • a.  Stating Fraudulent Concealment Cause of Action  4.43
        • b.  Proving Fraudulent Concealment  4.44
      • 2.  Misrepresentation  4.45
        • a.  Misrepresentation About Employment Safety  4.46
        • b.  Misrepresentation to Induce Employment or Resignation  4.47
      • 3.  Defamation  4.48
        • a.  Privilege to Communicate to Prospective Employers  4.49
        • b.  Litigation Privilege  4.50
      • 4.  False Arrest and Imprisonment  4.51
      • 5.  Invasion of Privacy  4.52
      • 6.  Malicious Prosecution  4.52A
    • C.  Power Press Guard Removal  4.53
      • 1.  Defining “Power Press,” and “Point of Operation Guard”  4.54
      • 2.  Proving Elements  4.55
      • 3.  Third Party Liability  4.56
    • D.  Product Liability  4.57
    • E.  Employer’s Dual Capacity  4.58
    • F.  Employer’s Medical Malpractice  4.59
    • G.  Employer Not Insured
      • 1.  Employees Generally  4.60
      • 2.  Rules Governing Suits  4.61
      • 3.  Employees of Unlicensed Contractors  4.62
      • 4.  Residential Dwelling Employees  4.63
    • H.  Volunteer Workers  4.64
    • I.  Employer’s Conduct Outside Compensation Bargain  4.65
      • 1.  Breaching Employment Contract or Implied Covenant  4.66
      • 2.  Intentionally Inflicting Emotional Distress  4.67
      • 3.  Harassing
        • a.  Harassment Generally  4.68
        • b.  Sexual Harassment  4.69
      • 4.  Employment Actions in Violation of Public Policy  4.70
        • a.  Elements of Tameny Cause of Action  4.71
        • b.  Employee Conduct Furthering Public Policy  4.72
        • c.  Avoiding Federal Preemption  4.73
      • 5.  Discrimination or Retaliation in Violation of FEHA  4.74
        • a.  Based on Sex  4.75
        • b.  Based on Sexual Orientation  4.76
        • c.  Based on Race or National Origin  4.77
        • d.  Based on Religion  4.78
        • e.  Based on Age  4.79
        • f.  Based on Physical or Mental Disability  4.80
        • g.  Release of Claim or Right Under FEHA  4.80A
      • 6.  Violation of Federal Civil Rights Statutes
        • a.  42 USC §§1983, 1981, and 2000e  4.81
        • b.  Title VII; ADEA; HIPAA  4.82
      • 7.  Violation of Americans With Disabilities Act  4.83
      • 8.  Discrimination Subject to Lab C §132a  4.84
      • 9.  Claims Made Noncompensable by Notice of Layoff  4.85
      • 10.  Noncompensable Psychiatric Injuries  4.86
  • VI.  OTHER BASES OF EMPLOYER LIABILITY
    • A.  Failure to Preserve Evidence (Spoliation)  4.87
    • B.  Failure to Indemnify Employee  4.88
    • C.  Failure to Either Pay Disability or Reinstate  4.89
  • VII.  SUITS BY PARTICULAR EMPLOYEES
    • A.  Railroad Workers
      • 1.  FELA Liability  4.90
      • 2.  Applicability of RLA; FRSA  4.91
      • 3.  Preemption by LIA/BIA and Safety Appliance Acts  4.92
    • B.  Airline Workers
      • 1.  Effect of FAA and Warsaw Convention  4.93
      • 2.  Applicability of RLA  4.94
    • C.  Maritime Workers
      • 1.  Unseaworthiness: Jones Act and DOHSA  4.95
      • 2.  LHWCA Liability  4.96
  • VIII.  FEDERAL PREEMPTION OF EMPLOYEES’ STATE LAW CLAIMS
    • A.  Preemption Defenses  4.97
    • B.  Particular Federal Statutes
      • 1.  LMRA  4.98
        • a.  No LMRA Preemption Found  4.99
        • b.  LMRA Preemption Found  4.100
      • 2.  NLRA  4.101
      • 3.  ERISA  4.102
      • 4.  FECA  4.103

5

Lawsuits Against Coemployees

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  5.1
  • II.  ASPECTS OF SUITS AGAINST COEMPLOYEES
    • A.  Generally Barred by Exclusive Remedy Rule  5.2
    • B.  Exceptions to Exclusive Remedy Rule
      • 1.  Scope of Exceptions Narrowly Interpreted  5.3
      • 2.  Lawsuit Does Not Seek Damages for Personal Injury or Death  5.4
      • 3.  Condition of Compensation Absent  5.5
      • 4.  Coemployee Acting Outside Scope of Employment  5.6
      • 5.  Statutorily Defined Exceptions  5.7
        • a.  Coemployee’s Willful and Unprovoked Physical Act of Aggression  5.8
        • b.  Intoxication  5.9
      • 6.  FEHA Discrimination, Retaliation, or Harassment Claims  5.10
      • 7.  Employee of Different Employer  5.11
      • 8.  Coemployee’s Dual Capacity  5.12
    • C.  Time Limitations  5.13

6

Lawsuits Against Workers’ Compensation Insurers

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER  6.1
  • II.  INSURER’S IMMUNITY FROM DAMAGES LIABILITY
    • A.  Statutory Sources
      • 1.  Labor Code §§3850, 3852  6.2
      • 2.  Labor Code §5300  6.3
    • B.  Exceptions to Insurer’s Exclusivity Immunity
      • 1.  Conduct Outside Insurer’s Proper Role  6.4
      • 2.  Fraud and Misrepresentation  6.5
      • 3.  Spoliation of Evidence  6.6
      • 4.  Trespass  6.7
      • 5.  Unfair Insurance Claims Practices; Bad Faith  6.8
      • 6.  Negligent Safety Inspection  6.9
      • 7.  Negligent Medical Treatment or Referral  6.10
      • 8.  Invasion of Privacy  6.11
      • 9.  Malicious Prosecution  6.11A
    • C.  Insurer’s Other Immunities
      • 1.  Insurer Reporting Suspected Fraud  6.12
      • 2.  SCIF Attorney’s Governmental Immunity  6.13
  • III.  MEDICAL PROVIDERS’ CLAIMS AGAINST INSURERS  6.14

7

Employers’ Reimbursement Claims

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER; TERMINOLOGY  7.1
  • II.  CHARACTERISTICS OF REIMBURSEMENT
    • A.  Availability of Three Procedures  7.2
    • B.  Statutory Indemnity or Subrogation  7.3
    • C.  Particular Situations Affecting Reimbursement
      • 1.  Medical Malpractice  7.4
      • 2.  Deceased Employee With No Dependents  7.5
      • 3.  Third Party’s Insurer’s Insolvency; CIGA Liability  7.6
      • 4.  Injury Caused by Third Party’s Criminal Act  7.7
      • 5.  Injury Caused by Coemployee  7.8
  • III.  EFFECT OF EMPLOYER’S CONCURRENT FAULT
    • A.  Reimbursement Reduced (Witt v Jackson)  7.9
    • B.  Calculating Reimbursement Reductions
      • 1.  Proportional Reduction Under Aceves  7.10
      • 2.  Applying Proposition 51  7.11
    • C.  Fault Other Than Negligence  7.12
    • D.  Whose Fault Considered  7.13
    • E.  Employer’s Right to Be Heard  7.14
  • IV.  SETTLEMENTS
    • A.  Settling With Injured Worker  7.15
    • B.  Settling With Third Party  7.16
    • C.  Responding to Employee-Third Party Settlement  7.17
  • V.  AMOUNTS RECOVERABLE
    • A.  Amount of Injured Employee’s Damages
      • 1.  Employer’s Recovery for Employee  7.18
      • 2.  Employer’s Recovery Limited by Employee’s Damages  7.19
      • 3.  When Industrial Injury Aggravated  7.19A
    • B.  Compensation and Employer’s Damages  7.20
    • C.  Payments Through Satisfaction of Judgment  7.21
    • D.  Employer’s Attorney Fees and Litigation Expenses  7.22
      • 1.  When Both Employee and Employer Actively Pursue Third Party  7.23
      • 2.  When Employer Alone Actively Pursues Third Party  7.24
      • 3.  When Employer Does Not Actively Participate  7.25
  • VI.  REIMBURSEMENT PROCEDURES
    • A.  Filing Independent Lawsuit
      • 1.  Right to Sue Third Party  7.26
      • 2.  Time to File Complaint  7.27
      • 3.  Complaint Against Third Party
        • a.  Contents  7.28
        • b.  Form: Complaint for Reimbursement for Workers’ Compensation Expenditures  7.29
      • 4.  Notice of Suit  7.30
      • 5.  Trial  7.31
    • B.  Intervening in Employee’s Lawsuit
      • 1.  Right to Intervene  7.32
      • 2.  Time Limitations
        • a.  Limit on Intervention  7.33
        • b.  Statutes of Limitation  7.34
        • c.  Claims Against Public Entities  7.35
      • 3.  Obtaining Permission to Intervene
        • a.  Requesting Leave to Intervene  7.36
        • b.  Third Party Response  7.37
        • c.  Appealing Denial of Intervention Request  7.38
      • 4.  Complaint in Intervention; Order
        • a.  Content; Verification  7.39
        • b.  Form: Complaint in Intervention  7.40
        • c.  Form: Order Permitting Intervention  7.41
      • 5.  Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute  7.42
      • 6.  Employer’s Participation at Trial  7.43
      • 7.  Jury Instructions; Verdict  7.44
      • 8.  Intervenor’s Liability for Defendant’s Costs  7.45
    • C.  Imposing Lien on Employee’s Recovery
      • 1.  Employer’s Lien Rights  7.46
        • a.  Effect of Employer Fault  7.47
        • b.  Lien on Settlement Proceeds  7.48
        • c.  Other Lien Claims  7.49
      • 2.  Time Limitations
        • a.  Satisfaction of Judgment  7.50
        • b.  Employee’s Dismissal of Suit  7.51
      • 3.  Form: Application for Lien  7.52
      • 4.  Form: Request for Notice  7.53
      • 5.  Jury Instructions; Verdict  7.54
      • 6.  Hearing on Lien  7.55
      • 7.  Form: Order Allowing Lien on Judgment  7.56
      • 8.  Appeal  7.57
  • VII.  OTHER CLAIMS AND SUITS BY EMPLOYERS  7.58
    • A.  Against Injured Employee and Employee’s Attorney
      • 1.  Employee’s Failure to Notify Employer  7.59
      • 2.  Employee’s Attorney’s Legal Malpractice  7.60
      • 3.  Fraudulent Claim Filing  7.60A
    • B.  Against Third Party for Harm to Business  7.61
    • C.  Against Employer’s Compensation Insurer
      • 1.  Insurer Practices That Increase Premiums of Self-Insured Liability  7.62
      • 2.  Insurer May Defend Against Employer  7.62A
      • 3.  Insurer’s Refusal to Defend Employer
        • a.  Against Employee’s Negligence, Wrongful Firing, or Defamation Suit  7.63
        • b.  Against Employee’s Suit for Discrimination (FEHA or Lab C §132a)  7.64
        • c.  Against Employee’s Suit for AWPA Violation  7.65
        • d.  Against Employee’s Suit for Fraudulent Concealment  7.66
      • 4.  Insurer’s Cancellation of Policy  7.66A
      • 5.  Insurer’s Failure to Provide Coverage  7.66B
    • D.  Against Medical or Medical-Legal Provider  7.67

8

Employers’ Credit Claims

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER; TERMINOLOGY  8.1
  • II.  CREDIT CHARACTERISTICS
    • A.  Employee’s Third Party Recovery  8.2
    • B.  Credit Is for Net Recovery  8.3
    • C.  Credit May Be Waived  8.4
    • D.  Employer’s Right to Credit  8.4A
    • E.  Credit for Recovery From CIGA  8.5
    • F.  Limits on Credit for Certain Employee Recoveries
      • 1.  Medical Malpractice Damages  8.6
      • 2.  “Reduced” or “Targeted” Settlement Payments  8.7
      • 3.  Legal Malpractice Damages  8.8
      • 4.  Insurer’s Bad Faith Damages  8.9
      • 5.  Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Recoveries  8.9A
      • 6.  Sexual Assault Damages  8.9B
    • G.  Kinds of Employer Payments Excused by Credit
      • 1.  Compensation Under Lab C Div 4  8.10
      • 2.  Compensation Awarded but Unpaid; Death Benefit  8.11
      • 3.  Compensation for Aggravated Industrial Injury  8.12
      • 4.  “Compensation” for Lab C §132a Discrimination  8.13
  • III.  CALCULATING CREDIT AMOUNT
    • A.  Effect of Employer’s Concurrent Fault
      • 1.  Employer’s Threshold  8.14
      • 2.  Coemployees’ Fault Charged to Employer  8.15
      • 3.  Estoppel to Assert Employer Fault  8.16
    • B.  Effect of Proposition 51  8.17
    • C.  Credit After Judgment in Third Party Lawsuit
      • 1.  Employer Fault Not Shown  8.18
      • 2.  Employer Fault Found by Court  8.19
    • D.  Credit After Employee’s Settlement
      • 1.  No Employer Fault Claimed  8.20
      • 2.  Employer Fault Claimed  8.21
      • 3.  Settlement Allocations Not Binding  8.22
    • E.  Effect of Employer’s Reimbursement Claim
      • 1.  After Judgment When Employer at Fault  8.23
      • 2.  After Settlement  8.24
    • F.  Resumed Payments After Credit Exhausted  8.25
  • IV.  PROCEDURE
    • A.  Employer’s Petition
      • 1.  Contents; Filing  8.26
      • 2.  Form: Petition for Credit  8.27
    • B.  Establishing Credit Amount When Employer Fault Claimed
      • 1.  Procedural Sequence  8.28
      • 2.  Conduct of Hearing  8.29
    • C.  Bases for WCJ’s Damages and Fault Findings
      • 1.  Settlement Not Binding  8.30
      • 2.  Kinds of Evidence  8.31

9

Third Parties’ Defenses and Rights

  • I.  SCOPE OF CHAPTER; TERMINOLOGY  9.1
    • A.  Defendants’ Attorneys’ Obligations  9.2
    • B.  Third Party Excluded From WCAB Proceedings  9.3
  • II.  DEFENSES
    • A.  Employers’ Exclusive Remedy Immunity  9.4
    • B.  No Duty; Worker’s Comparative Fault; Causation  9.5
    • C.  Employer’s Concurrent Fault
      • 1.  Effect of Employer’s Concurrent Fault  9.6
      • 2.  Pleading Employer’s Concurrent Fault  9.7
    • D.  Injured Worker Was Independent Contractor’s Employee
      • 1.  General Rule: Hirer Not Liable  9.8
      • 2.  Privette and Its Progeny  9.8A
      • 3.  Exceptions to General Rule of Nonliability
        • a.  Peculiar (or Special) Risk—Before Privette  9.9
        • b.  Retained Control  9.10
        • c.  Negligent Hiring, Supervision, or Retention  9.11
        • d.  Furnishing Unsafe Equipment; Dangerous Condition of Property  9.12
        • e.  Hirer Breached Nondelegable Statutory Duty  9.13
        • f.  Statute Overrides General Rule and Privette  9.13A
    • E.  Assumption of Risk  9.14
      • 1.  Primary Assumption of Risk Not Applied  9.15
      • 2.  Primary Assumption of Risk Applied  9.16
    • F.  Firefighter’s Rule
      • 1.  Rule Immunizes Instigators  9.17
      • 2.  Exceptions to Rule’s Applicability  9.18
        • a.  Privately Employed Worker  9.19
        • b.  Defendant’s Conduct Independent of Emergency  9.20
        • c.  Defendant’s Conduct Occurred After Knowledge of Worker’s Presence  9.21
        • d.  Defendant’s Conduct Violated Statute, Ordinance, or Regulation  9.21A
    • G.  Product Liability Defenses  9.21B
  • III.  SETTLEMENT
    • A.  Settling Only With Employee
      • 1.  Providing for Liability to Reimburse Employer  9.22
      • 2.  “Sliding Scale” Settlements  9.23
    • B.  Settling Only With Employer
      • 1.  Acquiring Employer’s Reimbursement Rights  9.24
      • 2.  Fee for Employee’s Attorney  9.25
      • 3.  Effect on Worker’s Lawsuit  9.25A
  • IV.  INDEMNIFICATION
    • A.  From Employer
      • 1.  Need for Prior Written Agreement  9.26
        • a.  Applying Lab C §3864  9.27
        • b.  Indemnity When Exception to Exclusivity Rule Exists  9.28
        • c.  Indemnity Under Federal Laws  9.29
      • 2.  Types of Agreement; Active and Passive Fault  9.30
        • a.  Indemnity for Third Party’s Fault  9.31
        • b.  Indemnity for Employer’s Fault  9.32
        • c.  “General” Indemnity Agreement  9.33
    • B.  From Other Tortfeasors
      • 1.  Under Indemnity Agreement  9.34
      • 2.  Comparative (Equitable) Indemnity  9.35
      • 3.  Full Indemnity for Vicariously Liable Third Party  9.36
    • C.  From Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurer  9.37

CALIFORNIA WORKERS' DAMAGES PRACTICE

(2d Edition)

September 2016

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

File Name

Book Section

Title

CH02

Chapter 2

Attorneys’ Obligations

02-005

§2.5

Sample Form: Cautionary Letter to Client

CH03

Chapter 3

Workers’ Lawsuits Against Third Parties

03-021

§3.21

Interview Checklist

03-043

§3.43

Sample Form: Notice of Settlement

CH07

Chapter 7

Employers’ Reimbursement Claims

07-029

§7.29

Complaint for Reimbursement for Workers’ Compensation Expenditures

07-040

§7.40

Complaint in Intervention

07-041

§7.41

Order Permitting Intervention

07-052

§7.52

Application for Lien

07-053

§7.53

Request for Notice

07-056

§7.56

Order Allowing Lien on Judgment

CH08

Chapter 8

Employers’ Credit Claims

08-027

§8.27

Petition for Credit

 

Selected Developments

September 2019 Update

As this update went to press, the California Supreme Court had under review three cases affecting topics covered in this book: (1) sufficiency of the evidence to support a verdict for a worker diagnosed with mesothelioma (see §3.50A); (2) whether “civilians,” criminally assaulted by an intruder while checking, at a deputy sheriff’s telephoned request, whether a neighbor had been adversely affected by a storm, were “engaged in active law enforcement” and thus barred from recovering damages from the deputy’s employer by workers’ compensation exclusivity (see §4.9A); and (3) whether the hirer of an independent contractor can be liable in tort solely for the negligent failure to undertake safety measures or whether more affirmative action is required (see §9.10).

Other developments since the 2018 update include the following:

  • Attorneys agreeing to the compromise and release (C&R) of a workers’ compensation claim must take care not to inadvertently release a related civil damages claim. See §2.2.

  • A third party whose intentional concealment of its product’s dangers caused injury to a worker cannot reduce its liability for noneconomic damages by negligence percentages attributed to the worker’s employer and to other third parties. See §3.5.

  • The statute of limitations on suits by minors, which permits tolling, applies to suits by persons injured by childhood exposure to toxic substances carried home on their parents’ clothing, rather than the statute of limitations applicable to toxic substance injuries. See §3.25A.

  • Workers’ compensation exclusivity provides a complete defense to a utilization review (UR) physician sued from harm caused to a worker who experienced seizures after UR denial of a drug without provision for a tapering off period. See §3.58.

  • The statutory presumption that the hirer of an unlicensed contractor is that contractor’s employer may be invoked to impose respondeat superior liability on the hirer for contractor negligence that injured another contractor’s employee. See §§4.61, 9.13A.

  • A supervisor’s and coemployees’ mimicking and mocking of an employee’s stutter can be actionable harassment in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). See §4.68.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a state fire district can be an “employer” that is liable under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). See §4.82.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 broadened the definition of “being regarded as having … an impairment” sufficiently to permit suit by a delivery driver who was forced to resign after an industrial shoulder injury. See §4.83.

  • Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), the “one recovery” defense (similar to the state law exclusive remedy defense) can preclude a worker who has received LHWCA benefits from his general employer from recovering damages from a “borrowing employer.” See §4.96.

  • A Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) panel has, by analogy to a reimbursement decision, denied an employer the right to a credit (that would reduce its workers’ compensation liability) for an injured employee’s recovery of legal malpractice damages from a law firm alleged to have negligently failed to timely file a lawsuit against a potentially liable third party. See §§7.60, 8.8.

  • A WCAB panel has ruled that a workers’ compensation judge (WCJ) erred by basing the assignment of a fault percentage to a third party solely on the basis that it had paid a substantial sum to settle the employee’s damages claim against it. See §8.21.

  • California Civil Jury Instruction 1009B (CACI) adequately states the “negligent exercise of retained control” exception to the general nonliability of the hirers of independent contractors, even though lacking the words “affirmatively contributed.” See §9.10.

  • In a “site representative’s” damages suit against the owner of an architecturally significant house, it was error to give a primary assumption of risk defense instruction, when the representative, conducting a tour for party-goers, fell from the unguarded edge of an elevated platform. See §9.15.

  • The “new scene” exception precluded application of the firefighter’s rule defense to preclude damages claims by the employer of firefighters who were hit by a negligent driver while helping an earlier negligent driver. See §9.21.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PAUL PEYRAT received his B.A. in 1955 and his J.D. in 1958 at the University of Minnesota. He was a legal editor for the third edition of California Workers' Compensation Practice and is a managing and contributing editor for the California Workers' Compensation Reporter. He speaks, lectures, acts as an expert witness on workers’ damages issues, and maintains a Sonoma, California, practice as a consultant to other lawyers, focusing on tort law and damages.

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PRACTICE AREA Civil Litigation & Torts
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PRODUCT GROUP Publication
PRACTICE AREA Civil Litigation & Torts
PRACTICE AREA Employment Law