Philadelphia Subrogation Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured while performing job-related activities in Philadelphia, you will generally be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Whether you are a construction worker injured by malfunctioning equipment, a commercial truck driver injured when your brakes failed, or a firefighter injured by falling debris, you will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

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However, there are also times when injured workers may be able to lawsuits against third parties responsible for their injuries. This can include lawsuits against property owners, product liability claims, and traditional personal injury claims. When pursuing both workers’ compensation and third-party damages, this can lead to something called subrogation. Here, the Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys at Gross & Kenny, LLP want to discuss how subrogation can affect third-party claims and how much money injury victims actually receive.

What is Subrogation?

Subrogation is a legal right that most insurance companies have to pursue legal action against a third party whose actions led to an insurance loss for the insured. In the event that employees file a subrogation claim, insurance companies execute this right to recover the amount of the claim that is paid by the insurance company for the loss. In subrogation, one person or party stands in the place of another person or party. It is a legal right that helps establish the rights that the insurance company has before and after paid claims have been made against a policy. It also helps make the process of reaching a settlement under an insurance policy easier.

What are Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits are benefits that are offered to employees who have suffered from job-related injuries. When an employee is injured on the job, the employee has certain rights like filing a workers’ compensation claim without retaliation from their employer. Some of the benefits that employees are entitled to under the workers’ compensation insurance are medical expenses and lost wages while they are recovering and unable to work. Depending on certain factors like the number of employees a business has and the type of business that it is, a majority of employers have a responsibility to provide workers’ compensation coverage.

Types of Illnesses that are Covered by Workers’ Compensation

Employees are able to seek workers’ compensation benefits for short-term and long-term injuries from the job. Many employees pursue workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that were caused by job-related activities over a long period of time. Some examples of long-term illnesses that are covered under workers’ compensation benefits include chronic back issues and repetitive stress injuries.

Employers and Insurance Carriers do Have the Right to Recover Compensation Through Subrogation

Workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania will typically be paid almost immediately to injured workers so that they have coverage for their medical bills and lost income. However, it can take some time to complete any third-party lawsuits that arise due to a workplace injury.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does allow insurance carriers to recoup what they paid out in workers’ compensation benefits in certain situations. In the insurance and legal realms, this is known as subrogation. In general, the insurance carrier will be able to recover the amount of money that they paid in medical expenses and lost wages out of any settlement or jury verdict the injury victim receives as a result of a successful third-party lawsuit related to the same injury.

Any amount of compensation awarded to the injury victim that exceeds the total amount of money paid by the workers’ comp insurance carrier will go to the injured worker.

Common Scenarios for Subrogation Claims

Some of the common scenarios where employees are entitled to file a subrogation claim are slip-and-fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, assault incidents, and product liability claims. The top three claims revolve around motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and dog bites.

For example, a delivery driver who is struck by an aggressive driver in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that can be paid from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. With a slip-and-fall accident, an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if the employer’s negligence can be proven. If a homeowner’s dog bites a contractor or a delivery person, the person’s homeowner’s insurance policy may be able to cover the employee’s workers’ compensation costs.

Subrogation Waivers: A Path to Complete Compensation for Employees

According to Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers, a waiver of subrogation is beneficial for workers because it presents injured employees with the ability to obtain a double recovery. Above, we mentioned that workers’ compensation insurers in Pennsylvania can recoup the money they paid through the subrogation of a third-party claim.

However, an employer or insurance carrier can wave or agree to reduce their subrogation interests after the injury occurs in exchange for the settlement of an open workers’ compensation claim. In general, a subrogation waiver will be done to encourage the injured employee to focus their efforts on settling the claim through a lawsuit against a third party as opposed to against the workers’ compensation insurer or the employer.

Reasons for Employers or Insurance Carriers to Waive Their Subrogation Rights

When an employer or insurance company waives their subrogation rights, they contractually waive their right to seek compensation for the losses caused by a negligent third party. Some employers or insurance companies may choose to waive their subrogation rights in an attempt to avoid prolonged litigation.

Other reasons for employers and insurance companies to waive their subrogation rights are preventing or resolving any conflict between two parties. Waiving subrogation rights prohibits employers and insurance companies from being held responsible for losses that they did not cause.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP Understand the Complexities of Subrogation

Understanding the ability of an insurer or employer to recoup their own losses from your settlement of third-party liability claims is of paramount importance before filing a suit. Injured employees who are aware of how their recovery could be subrogated can make more informed decisions about how they will pursue an award of damages for their pain and suffering. For these reasons, employees must closely scrutinize the terms of their employers’ workers’ compensation plan. Since 1991, the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP, have been leaders in their field, aggressively pursuing benefits on behalf of clients throughout the region. Contact us at 215-512-1500 or complete this online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation at our Philadelphia offices.

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