N.H. House Bill Addresses High Court Interpretation

January 30, 2001

A hearing will be held tomorrow in the House Commerce Committee on a bill sponsored by the National Association of Independent Insurers.

The bill is designed to address issues raised by 1999’s controversial “Gorman” state Supreme Court ruling. The case, Gorman v. National Grange, involved a workers’ comp claimant who sought to collect both workers’ comp and uninsured motorist coverage.

H.B. 229, sponsored by Rep. Keith Herman, clarifies the definition of “other person” for purposes of third-party liability, specifically excluding employers, employees and those working for the employer. The bill also clarifies the absence of an obligation or duty to an auto insurer when the injured party is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

“This legislation will go a long way toward tightening up New Hampshire’s workers’ comp statutes,” said Gerald L. Zimmerman, counsel for the NAII.

“When the state Supreme Court ruled that claimants can collect both workers’ compensation and their own UIM coverage for the same claim, it opened the door for some serious abuses by unscrupulous claims. UIM coverage is simply not designed to cover workers’ comp costs. This bill will fix the problem.”

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