Common Situation 6
An employee, while on the job, is riding in a company truck and suffers serious personal injuries. The car that hits him has only the minimum coverage of $20,000. Can the employee access his employer’s large automobile insurance policy on Part 12 for UM coverage?
Answer to Common Situation 6
No. The exclusivity provision of Worker’s Compensation law does not permit the employee to pursue an underinsured motorist claim on the employer’s policy. The highest court of Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court, has called the immunity from suit “the cornerstone” of the law. M.G.L. c. 152, Berger v. H.P. Hood, Inc., 416 Mass. 652 (1993). Thus, if the employee is receiving worker’s compensation benefits, he cannot recover the underinsured benefits of the employer. If the employee has his/her own auto policy, he can indeed access coverage on his/her vehicle, or if none, then on that of a resident relative. This is permitted because the benefits are not from the employer’s policy and, thus, it does not run afoul of the exclusivity limitation.
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