• Subrogation Rights and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board
  • July 19, 2017
  • When one of the parties involved in a legal case feels that the court’s ruling was made in error, they may appeal the ruling. This means that the case is moved to a new court, the appellate court, to be reheard by a new judge and jury to determine whether the first ruling was reached correctly or not. Cases in appellate court can be remanded, or returned to a lower-level court, when the appellate court finds that an error occurred.
    Recently, a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case was remanded when the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania found that the judge who ruled on the original case did not consider the claimant’s concerns regarding employer subrogation rights. The claimant, a worker who suffered severe burns in a 2006 flash fire, filed a Workers’ Compensation claim with his employer.
    After the employer accepted liability for the damages, the claimant filed a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the flame-resistant coveralls he wore at the time of the fire, stating that they did not protect him from burns, and reached a settlement. Following that, his employer placed a lien on a significant portion of the settlement package, stating that the liable manufacturer should repay the company for its Workers’ Compensation expenses.
    The claimant filed a petition to review the case, claiming that the employer was not entitled to the amount of money it sought, but a smaller portion of his settlement because he suffered burns on areas of his body that were not under the coveralls. The crux of the case was whether the employer had the right to seek full subrogation because numerous burns were deemed to be one injury. The court ruled that the employer was entitled to receive approximately two-thirds of the victim’s compensation settlement, a decision that both parties opted to appeal.
    What is Subrogation?
    Subrogation is the substitution of one party for another in a debt or insurance claim. Typically, it refers to the right of the party that initially compensated a victim, such as the victim’s healthcare insurance provider, to seek compensation for its own expenses from the party liable for the victim’s damages. This can mean that the party asserting its subrogation rights, known as a collateral source, has the right to claim all or a portion of the victim’s settlement with the liable party. It ensures that the paying party is at least partially reimbursed for its payout.
    Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Have Experience Handling Cases Involving Subrogation
    Pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim can be complicated. If you feel your claim was denied unfairly, you have the right to seek legal assistance. For help with filing an appeal, or to learn more about subrogation and its potential effect on your award for damages, talk with an experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross. Complete our online contact form or call us today at 267-589-0090 or 215-512-1500 to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia office. We proudly serve injured workers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.