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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.