Insurer ordered to pay back millions in workers' compensation to trucking firm

Insurer ordered to pay back millions in workers' compensation to trucking firm | Insurance Business America

Insurer ordered to pay back millions in workers

A federal jury in Ohio has decided that an Illinois-based insurer must reimburse $2 million that a trucking company paid to an employee who was severely injured at work, after finding that the company is entitled to the full amount of its policy.

The jury sided with Ohio-based P.I.& I. Motor Express Inc., after finding that the injured worker was a temporary employee that was exempted from the employers’ liability exclusion under the company’s policy with RLI Insurance, according to a Law360 report.

The contracted worker, Ryan Marshall, became permanently disabled after a 2014 accident resulted in the amputation of both his legs. He sued Motor Express for pain, suffering, and other damages. The trucking company settled with Marshall in 2019.

That same year, Motor Express filed a lawsuit against RLI Insurance, alleging breach of insurance contract, after the insurer refused to provide indemnity.

The insurer argued that Marshall’s claims against Motor Express are barred by the policy’s employers’ liability and workers’ compensation exclusions because he was a “statutory” employee of the company.

The trucking company countered by saying that Marshall was a temporary worker under an independent contract when the accident occurred. The firm added that it only hires independent contractors and does not own the trucks it operates, nor does it employ any permanent workers.

The jury sided with Motor Express, finding that Marshall was a temporary worker, making the policy’s employers’ liability and workers’ compensation exclusions inapplicable.