Philadelphia + Delaware County Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Car Accidents that Occur While Working
Under Pennsylvania law, an injured worker cannot “double dip.” This means that an injured worker cannot receive double payment of benefits for a car accident from both the Third Party [the negligent driver who caused the accident] and the Workers’ Compensation insurance company. The Workers’ Compensation insurance company is entitled to recover the money they paid to the injured worker from the employee’s Third Party lawsuit. This is called subrogation. It applies to the wage loss benefits and medical benefits paid by the Workers’ Compensation insurance company.
If the amount of money recovered from the Third Party lawsuit is less than the total amount paid by the Workers’ Compensation insurance company (both past and future), the Workers’ Compensation insurance company may recover ALL of the Third Party settlement (after attorneys’ fees are deducted) through subrogation. Because an injured worker is not “required” to pursue a claim solely for the benefit of the Workers’ Compensation insurance company, there are frequently situations where the insurance company will “compromise” the amount of their recovery to provide incentive for the claimant to proceed with the case against the Third Party. Otherwise, the injured worker might simply decide to “drop” the Third Party lawsuit, leaving the insurance company with no recovery at all.
On the Job Car Accidents and Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Delaware County, PA
If the amount of money recovered from the Third Party lawsuit is greater than the amount of Workers’ Compensation benefits paid, there are several different possibilities. If the Workers’ Compensation claim is closed and there are no further benefits being paid, then the insurance company is only entitled to recover through subrogation up to the total amount they paid. Any greater amount is payable to the injured worker. [Once again, this is after attorneys’ fees are paid.]
However, if the Workers’ Compensation insurance company is continuing to pay benefits to the injured worker, there is a mathematical formula to be applied to the Third Party lawsuit recovery. The injured worker will receive less weekly wage loss benefits, and may even be required to pay a portion of their medical bills, until the full amount of the Third Party lawsuit recovery is “absorbed” (based on the Worker’s Compensation carrier paying less money).
Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Benefits
In addition to benefits payable by the insurance company for the negligent driver, an injured worker may also have Underinsured (or Uninsured) motorist benefits on the policy of the car they are in. If that insurance policy was paid for by the employer, subrogation may apply to any benefits recovered in the UM/UIM claim, as well. However, if that car insurance policy was paid for by the injured worker themself, then the Workers’ Compensation insurance company does NOT have a right of subrogation. Standish v. American Mfrs Mutual Ins. Co., 698 A.2d 599 (PA Super 1997); Entertainment Partners v. WCAB (Caparelli), 749 A.2d 551 (Pa Cmwlth 2000); American Red Cross v. WCAB (Romano), 745 A.2d 78 (Pa Cmwlth. 2000). COMPARE: Schwaab v. WCAB (Schmidt Baking Co.), 832 A.2d 1164 (Pa Cmwlth. 2003).
[Note: there are different “rules” where the UM/UIM benefits are paid for by someone OTHER THAN the injured worker or employer.]
Trust Our Philadelphia + Delaware County Car Accident Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have been injured in a work-related car accident, you need the advice and skill of a team of Pennsylvania injury attorneys, knowledgeable in both Workers’ Compensation claims AND auto accidents cases, in order to maximize your recovery. Our Philadelphia & Media injury attorneys understand the law of subrogation and will work to ensure that your claims, both Workers’ Compensation claims and Third Party claims, are fairly resolved. The law offices of Schmidt, Kirifides & Rassias have skilled trial attorneys, each with over 20 years of experience handling these unique claims. For a free consultation with one of our qualified Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, call us toll free at (484) 679-5239 or contact us online.