Gill v. Waltz.
2021 CO 21. No.19SA174. Workers’ Compensation—Subrogation—Collateral Source Doctrine.
April 12, 2021
The Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction under C.A.R. 21.1 to answer the following certified questions of law from the US District Court for the District of Colorado: (1) Does a plaintiff have standing to seek damages for personal injuries that were already paid by workers’ compensation insurance where the insurer has settled its subrogation claim directly with the tortfeasor-defendant? (2) May a plaintiff present evidence of his or her billed amount of medical expenses where the tortfeasor-defendant has paid the same medical expenses by settling the workers’ compensation insurer’s subrogation claim?
The Court held that a settlement between a workers’ compensation insurer and a third-party tortfeasor for all past medical expenses paid as a result of an on-the-job injury extinguishes the plaintiff-employee’s claim to recover damages for those past medical expenses from the third-party tortfeasor. Because the injured employee need not present evidence of either billed or paid medical expenses in the absence of a viable claim for such expenses, the collateral source rule is not implicated.
The Court returned the case to the US District Court for the District of Colorado for further proceedings.