In Wisconsin, worker’s compensation subrogation is controlled by Wis. Stats. 102.29. This statute is very beneficial to the subrogation efforts of worker comp insurers.
• Insurers have their own independent right to file suit.
• They do not have to rely on the injured worker to file suit.
• There is no waiting period before the insurer can file suit.
• Insurers have an equal say in the prosecution of the claim.
Recoveries are distributed between the worker and the insurer according to the statutory formula.
It is important to understand that all attorney fees (worker’s and insurer’s) are paid according to statute. The insurer’s attorney fees are paid automatically from the gross recovery. There is no reason for an insurer to agree to pay a separate fee (hourly or contingent) to its attorney from its net recovery. If your current practice is to pay your worker’s compensation subrogation attorney a separate fee from your net recovery, you are double-paying attorney fees. Please download this article for a complete explanation of how attorney fees are paid in Wisconsin worker’s compensation third-party litigation.
There are inherent conflicts of interest when an attorney attempts to represent both the injured worker and the worker comp insurer. Because of these inherent conflicts, and because it will not cost the insurer any additional fee, there is no reason to have the worker’s attorney represent the insurer. Attorney Harmeyer will aggressively represent his client’s interests, without conflict, and without any additional charge to the client.