Workers Comp Commissioners Authority to Review Third Party Settlement
In Enquist v. General Datacom, 218 Conn. 19, 587 A.2d 1029 (1991) the plaintiff's third party settlement was in excess of the fund's lien.
when the third party settlement is insufficient to satisfy the claims of the employer or the fund. This is a distinction without a difference with respect to the application of 31-293, as the operative language of the statute provides:
"If such employer and employee join as parties plaintiff in such action and any damages are recovered, such damages shall be so apportioned that the claim of the employer, as defined in this section, shall take precedence over that of the injured employee in the proceeds of such recovery . . . ." General Statutes (Rev. to 1985) 31-293.
Essentially, the fund stands in the shoes of the employer. See Casey v. Northeast Utilities, 249 Conn. 365, 377, 731 A.2d 294 (1999).
General Statutes (Rev. to 1985) 31-293 provides in relevant part: "When any injury for which compensation is payable under the provisions of this chapter has been sustained under circumstances creating in some other person than the employer a legal liability to pay damages . . . the injured employee . . . may proceed at law against such person to recover damages for such injury; and any employer having paid, or having become obligated to pay, compensation under the provisions of this chapter may bring an action against such other person to recover any amount that he has paid or has become obligated to pay as compensation to such injured employee.
If either such employee or such employer brings such action against such third person, he shall forthwith notify the other . . . and such other may join as a party plaintiff in such action . . . . If such employer and employee join as parties . . . and any damages are recovered, such damages shall be so apportioned that the claim of the employer . . . shall take precedence over that of the injured employee in the proceeds of such recovery, after the deduction of reasonable and necessary expenditures, including attorneys' fees, incurred by the employee in effecting such recovery.
The rendition of a judgment in favor of the employee or the employer against such party shall not terminate the employer's obligation to make further compensation, including medical expenses, which the compensation commissioner thereafter deems payable to such injured employee.
If the damages, after deducting the employee's expenses . . . are more than sufficient to reimburse the employer, damages shall be assessed in his favor in a sum sufficient to reimburse him for his claim, and the excess shall be assessed in favor of the injured employee. . . . for the purposes of this section the employer's claim shall consist of (1) the amount of any compensation which he has paid on account of the injury which is the subject of the suit and (2) an amount equal to the present worth of any probable future payments which he has by award become obligated to pay on account of such injury. . . ."
4 General Statutes (Rev. to 1985) 31-352 provides: "The provisions of section 31-293 shall apply to any [payments from the second injury fund] and the treasurer is authorized to bring an action, or join in an action as provided by said section, when he has paid, or by award has become obligated to pay, compensation out of the fund."