Workers' Compensation Claim

Your Workers’ Compensation Claim May Be Worth More Than You Think

Most likely, you’re aware that you can file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer when injured at work. These lawsuits can help you recover the cost of medical bills and lost wages. However, you may not know that you can also have a claim against a third party. This third party is not part of your workers’ compensation claim.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act precludes employees from suing their employers as a result of an injury while the employee is acting in the course and scope of his or her employment through any avenue other than the workers’ compensation system. The Act does not preclude an employee from suing a third party who may have contributed to the cause of the injury.

For example, I had a case that clearly shows the distinction. In this case, the plaintiff was rear-ended by another motorist while driving a work truck. He filed a workers’ compensation claim through his employer since he was acting in the course and scope of his employment. Then, he then filed a separate lawsuit against the negligent driver that rear-ended him. The plaintiff recovered through the workers’ compensation claim and the separate personal injury claim.

Right of Subrogation

If that sounds too good to be true, it kind of is. The workers’ compensation insurance company that pays out the first claim has what is called a right of subrogation. In other words, the insurance company can seek reimbursement for any claims paid to the injured from a third party.  For example, if the employee received $100,000 from the workers’ compensation case, the insurance company that paid that amount could get reimbursed up to $100,000 from the personal injury lawsuit.  However, the insurance company will generally accept less than what they paid out in order to resolve the claim.

Please call us if you have been inured at work. Not only can we help with your workers’ compensation claim, we can look at potential third party claims.


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