Workers Comp Subro in PI Case

I have a minimal impact car wreck with significant cervical injury. Plaintiff was on the job at the time of the collision and workers’ comp ruled the injuries caused by the wreck. In third-party case, insurance company arguing the wreck did not cause the injury. Can I use the comp decision to bar the insurance company’s defense?

Answer: You can’t bind the defendant in the district court case by the finding in the Work Comp case because the defendant in the district court case is not a party to the comp case. Attempting to bind the defendant by a decision in a case to which it was not a party would violate due process. See: State Mut. Life Assur. Co. v. Hampton, 1985 OK 19, 696 P.2d 1027: Acquittal of beneficiary of killing insured did not require payment to beneficiary, under “slayer” statute (84 O.S. 231): “Moreover, special administrator and children, who are entitled to take under § 231 if wife is barred, were not parties to the criminal case. Due process standards would preclude their being bound by the result of proceedings in which they did not participate. See, Parklane Hosiery Co., Inc. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 326, n.7, 99 S.Ct. 645, 649, n.7, 58 L.Ed.2d 552 (1979); Blonder-Tongue Laboratories, Inc. v. University of Illinois Foundation, 402 U.S. 313, 329, 91 S.Ct. 1434, 1443, 28 L.Ed.2d 788 (1971); California-Western States Life Ins. Co. v. Sanford, 515 F.Supp. 524, 533 (E.D.La.1981).”