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Workers' Compensation

Colorado: Comp Carrier’s Settlement With Third Party Tortfeasor Nixes Employee’s Attempt to Introduce Medical Bills in Tort Action

In a deeply divided decision, the Supreme Court of Colorado reversed, in pertinent part, a decision by a divided division of the state’s Court of Appeals and held that a workers’ compensation carrier’s settlement with a third-party tortfeasor for all past medical expenses paid pursuant to the injured employee’s workers’ compensation claim operated to extinguish the employee’s claim against that same third-party for all medical expenses paid. The import of the decision was that the employee could not introduce evidence at his own trial of the extent of the medicals. The employee argued that his medical care had included costs in excess of what was permitted by the workers’ compensation fee schedule and that he should be able to introduce evidence as to the additional charges since the higher bills represented the true value of the services provided. The majority of the Court—with three judges dissenting—disagreed, noting that the injured employee could not be liable for any medical charges under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Since he could not be liable for any medical charges, it would be inappropriate for him to put on evidence as to their amount.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law(LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. Scholle, 2021 CO 20, 2021 Colo. LEXIS 234 (Apr. 12, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 116.05.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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