2017 Wyoming Statutes
TITLE 27 - LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
CHAPTER 14 - WORKER'S COMPENSATION
ARTICLE 1 - GENERALLY
SECTION 27-14-105 - Action against third party; notice; subrogation; legal representation; payment under reservation of rights; actions by department.

Universal Citation: WY Stat § 27-14-105 (2017)

27-14-105. Action against third party; notice; subrogation; legal representation; payment under reservation of rights; actions by department.

(a) If an employee covered by this act receives an injury under circumstances creating a legal liability in some person other than the employer to pay damages, the employee if engaged in work for his employer at the time of the injury is not deprived of any compensation to which he is entitled under this act. He may also pursue his remedy at law against the third party or the coemployee to the extent permitted by W.S. 27-14-104(a). Except as provided by subsections (b), (e) and (f) of this section, if the employee recovers from the third party or the coemployee in any manner including judgment, compromise, settlement or release, the state is entitled to be reimbursed for all payments made, or to be made, to or on behalf of the employee under this act but not to exceed one-third (1/3) of the total proceeds of the recovery without regard to the types of damages alleged in the third-party action. Any recovery by the state shall be reduced pro rata for attorney fees and costs in the same proportion as the employee is liable for fees and costs. All money received by the state under this section shall be credited to the worker's compensation account and considered in computing the employer's experience rating.

(b) The director and the attorney general shall be served by certified mail return receipt requested with a copy of the complaint filed in any suit initiated pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. Service of the complaint on the director and attorney general is a jurisdictional requirement in order to maintain the suit. The director and the attorney general shall be notified in writing by certified mail return receipt requested of any judgment, compromise, settlement or release entered into by an employee. Before offering settlement to an employee, a third party or its insurer shall notify the state of the proposed settlement and give the state fifteen (15) days after receipt of such notice in which to object. If notice of proposed settlement is not provided, the state is entitled to initiate an independent action against the third party or its insurer for all payments made to and any amount reserved for or on behalf of the employee under this act. If there is a settlement, compromise or release entered into by the parties in claims against a person other than the employer, the attorney general representing the director shall be made a party in all such negotiations for settlement, compromise or release. The attorney general and the director, for purposes of facilitating compromise and settlement, may in a proper case authorize acceptance by the state of less than the state's claim for reimbursement. The proceeds of any judgment, settlement, compromise or release are encumbered by a continuing lien in favor of the state to the extent of the total amount of the state's claim for reimbursement under this section and for all current and future benefits under this act. The lien shall remain in effect until the state is paid the amount authorized under this section. In addition the person paying the settlement remains liable to the state for the state's claim unless the state through the attorney general signs the release prior to payment of an agreed settlement.

(c) If the injury causes the death of the employee, the rights and remedies in this section inure to and the obligations are binding upon the personal representative of the deceased employee for the benefit of his dependents.

(d) Any attorney who fails to notify the director and attorney general of any settlement or fails to ensure the state receives its share of the proceeds of any settlement or judgment under subsection (a) of this section shall be reported to the grievance committee of the Wyoming state bar.

(e) At any time before the statute of limitation bars an employee or his estate from commencing a claim for personal injury or wrongful death, and upon the unsolicited written request of the employee or estate, the department may commence such an action on behalf of the employee or his estate. From any amounts recovered under this subsection, the state is entitled to an amount equal to all sums awarded as benefits to the employee or his estate and all anticipated future medical costs. Any excess recovery shall be paid to the injured employee or his estate.

(f) The department or employer shall have an additional six (6) month limitation period beyond the date on which the employee or his estate is barred under the statute of limitations from commencing a claim for personal injury or wrongful death, in which to commence such an action on behalf of the employee or his estate. From any amounts recovered under this subsection, the state is entitled to an amount equal to all sums awarded as benefits to the employee or his estate, all anticipated future medical costs and all costs of litigation. Any excess recovery shall be paid to the injured employee or his estate.

(g) For purposes of subsections (e) and (f) of this section, nothing in this section prohibits any third party from reimbursing the worker's compensation account for medical or temporary total disability costs without prejudice prior to any judgment, settlement or release.

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