Arizona  |  Workers Comp

Legal Question

Asked on: 10/10/13, 10:08 am

i work for a groomer and got bit by a dog why clipping his toe nails. they did advise us the dog was skittish. i got the workmans comp from my employer but now workmans comp is trying to collect on the owner is that ok to do that

1 Answer

Answered on: 10/14/13, 2:55 pm by Thomas Stillwell

When a worker is injured on the job, he/she cannot sue the employer or any co-employees, if there is workers' compensation insurance in place. The dog owners, however, are neither your employer nor a co-employee...they are called a "third party," and you do have the right to sue them for negligence. Your right to sue lasts for two years, but under the workers' compensation law, if you haven't sued during the first year, then during the second year, the workers' comp carrier has the right to sue in your name, to recover what they've paid on your claim. (Incidentally, if you chose to sue the dog owners yourself, workers' comp would have a lien against that suit and would be entitled to reimbursement before you or your lawyer got paid.)

If workers' comp wishes to pursue payment from the dog owners, it's probably because either they learned that there is a homeowners' insurance policy in place that covers dog bites, or they learned that the dog owners have a lot of money. Having said all that, however, I am a bit surprised at their decision, because it seems like a long-shot case (although I'm not a personal injury lawyer.)

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