BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Worker who died was ‘uninsured motorist’ eligible for recovery: State high court


A worker who died in a vehicle accident whose estate was barred from suing because of workers compensation exclusive remedy still should have been considered an insured in his company’s uninsured motorist policy, allowing the estate to pursue a claim in federal court, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The state high court was asked to certify questions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in a lawsuit by Nancy Anaya-Smith, next of kin to Michael Brian Smith, who died in a March 2020 accident while a passenger in a vehicle owned by his employer, Fixtures & Drywall Co. of Oklahoma.

Ms. Anaya-Smith, contending the co-worker’s negligence caused the accident, filed suit alleging the employer’s insurer, Federated Mutual Insurance Co., denied her uninsured motorist claim in bad faith and that its uninsured motorist coverage scheme violated Oklahoma law because it didn’t consider Mr. Smith an insured since he was not a director, officer, partner, owner or qualifying member of the company.

The employer’s insurance policy provided up to $1 million in liability coverage per accident. The company also had an umbrella policy with Federated Mutual that provided an additional $6 million in coverage.

All parties agreed the vehicle involved was a covered vehicle and the driver was an insured.

Ms. Anaya-Smith, who was barred from suing the employer under its commercial and umbrella policies, instead sought recovery of uninsured motorist benefits.

The high court said even with comp exclusive remedy, Mr. Smith should have been considered an insured under the uninsured motorist policy enabling Ms. Anaya-Smith to pursue her claim.