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Glossary Check: ‘Targeted Tender’ Doctrine

06 Apr, 2023 Frank Ferreri

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Stuart, FL ( -- Much of workers' compensation law is closely wrapped up in insurance law, which isn't a surprise since it's insurers that usually cover payments to injured workers.

Thus, there are many insurance concepts that find their way into workers' compensation matters, and one of those concepts is what's known as the "targeted tender" doctrine.

So, what is it?

Under the targeted tender doctrine, an insurer is liable on a claim only if the policyholder tendered the claim to the insurer.

How does it look in practice?

As an example, in Pekin Ins. Co. v. Skender Const., 2013 WL 6858493 (Ill. App. Ct. 12/27/13), a worker fell into a ditch dug by a subcontractor and experienced injuries. The targeted tender doctrine applied in the case because an attorney who sent the general contractor's tender letter to the subcontractor's insurer was retained by the general contractor's insurer to represent the general contractor.

Thus, the Pekin court found that the subcontractor's insurer owed the general contractor a duty to defend because the general contractor's defense was properly tendered to the subcontractor's insurer.

When might it not apply?

One place where the targeted tender doctrine likely wouldn't apply is Utah. That state's Supreme Court explained in Workers' Compensation Fund v. Utah Business Ins. Co., 296 P. 3d 734 (Utah 2013), that the doctrine was incompatible with the state's scheme under which an insurer becomes liable on a claim as soon as an employee informs her employer of an accident, regardless of whether the employer formally tenders a claim to the insurer.

The court made clear that in Utah, all insurers are automatically liable for claims reported to employers and thus, another doctrine, equitable contribution applied.

For more state compliance information, visit SimplyResearch

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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