Workers Comp from Both Third Party Wrongdoer and Employer
In Enquist v. General Datacom, 218 Conn. 19, 587 A.2d 1029 (1991), the plaintiff sought to distinguish his claim from Rosenbaum v. Hartford News Co., 92 Conn. 398, 400-401, 103 A. 120 (1918), and a subsequent statutory amendment by focusing on known and unknown future obligations of the employer.
Our Supreme Court held that an employer is entitled to a credit against future workers' compensation benefits in an amount equal to the employee's net recovery from a personal injury claim made against a third party tortfeasor, noting that the statute provides for the employer's claim to take precedence over the injured employee's claim for the net proceeds of the recovery. Enquist v. General Datacom, supra, 218 Conn. 23.
"Our conclusion that an employer is entitled to a credit for unknown future benefits against the net proceeds of a third party recovery comports with other well established principles of workers' compensation law.
One of the purposes of the workers' compensation statute is 'the avoidance of two independent compensations for the injury'; Uva v. Alonzy, 116 Conn. 91, 98, 163 A. 612 (1933); a proposition that our Supreme Court recently reaffirmed. See Paternostro v. Edward Coon Co., 217 Conn. 42, 47-49, 583 A.2d 1293 (1991).
If the plaintiff's argument were to prevail, a claim made subsequent to the disposition of a third party action would result in the employee receiving compensation from both the third party wrongdoer and the employer. In the absence of explicit statutory language mandating such a result, we decline to adopt such a construction." Enquist v. General Datacom, supra, 26.