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High court takes workers' compensation case

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to case involving part of the worker's compensation statute that the Indiana Court of Appeals called "somewhat obscure."

In Everett Cash Mutual Insurance Co. v. Rick and Katrina Taylor, No. 02A03-0808-CV-386, the Court of Appeals had to decide whether the Taylors were negligent in failing to make sure an independent contractor had workers' compensation insurance because they believed their farm personal liability policy from Everett would cover all risks occurring on their property.

The majority ruled based on Indiana Code Section 22-3-2-14 that the Taylors were potentially liable for payment of workers' compensation benefits to the injured man just as if they directly employed him.

The majority also found Everett wasn't estopped from denying coverage for the independent contractor's claim because there wasn't any designated evidence to show the Taylors thought they were receiving coverage for the precise situation that happened in this case. In the absence of evidence they were led to believe at the time they originally bought the policy that it would provide coverage for this specific situation, there can't be estoppel.

Judge L. Mark Bailey dissented because he believed there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding the estoppel claim.

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