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"Subrogation" is a legal concept where one party assumes the legal rights of another for whom expenses were paid. See Wikipedia.

Labor Code §3852 allows a worker to file both a workers' compensation claim and a civil suit "for all damages proximately resulting from the injury or death against any person other than the employer....Any employer who pays, or becomes obligated to pay compensation, or who pays, or becomes obligated to pay salary in lieu of compensation ... may likewise make a claim or bring an action against the third person. In the latter event the employer may recover in the same suit, in addition to the total amount of compensation, damages for which he or she was liable including all salary, wage, pension, or other emolument paid to the employee or to his or her dependents."

The employer and some public entities have the right to subrogate. The employer can sue the third party or become involved in the injured worker's civil suit by filing a complaint in intervention or a lien. The employer can also assert a credit against the employee's civil recovery.

Note that "employer" means "insurer" in the context of the subrogation statutes. Also note that medical malpractice cases do not give the employer subrogation or credit rights, as Civil Code §3333.1 allows the defendant to reduce liability when there have been "collateral benefits," which include workers' compensation: "(b) No source of collateral benefits introduced pursuant to subdivision (a) shall recover any amount against the plaintiff nor shall it be subrogated to the rights of the plaintiff against a defendant."

There is no credit allowed when an employee recovers against his own uninsured motorist policy: see Ins C §11580.2(c)(4).

See, too: Third Party Cases, Liens, Credit

Label Item Links Comments
Labor Code  Labor Code §§3850-3865 LC §§3850-3865  
Practice Tips Advise clients they cannot get a double recovery. Alert them to later credit issues that may force them to pay for needed medical treatment. Try to interact with the civil attorney to do what is best for the mutual client.  
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