Most people’s eyes glaze over at the legal term subrogation, but it can be important when you have been injured on the job and are awarded financial compensation to pay for medical bills and time away from work.
Subrogation may become problematic. For example, if you are injured by a power saw at work, Workers’ Compensation will compensate you for your losses. The problem arises when you arrive at a settlement with the company. When you are targeted for subrogation, you are being told by Party A to pay back money paid to you by Party B.
Subrogation holds that your employer or its Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier can demand that you turn the settlement you received from Party B over to them. This is done in the name of fairness. However, subrogation can be far from fair. Your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier, for instance, can demand not just the part of Party B’s money that paid for medical costs and lost time, but other benefits as well, such as pain and suffering.
Workers’ Compensation is not entitled to pay back benefits it did not pay for. It is easy to understand why subrogation exists. It guards against working both sides of the street, exacting double payment for a single injury. However, when Workers’ Compensation claims monies that were never part of its award, like pain and suffering, something is wrong. They are demanding repayment for something they never compensated for in the first place.
The idea of subrogation makes sense, but in practice, it often goes too far. That is where the Pittsburgh work injury lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. can help. Our goal is always to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to and you are not deprived of monies your Workers’ Compensation carrier had nothing to do with.
Pennsylvania is behind other states in subrogation reform at the legislative level. Bit by bit, state courts are admitting that subrogation is unjust. We are pushing hard against the principle currently in place that says employers, or their insurance carriers have the absolute right to collect all that Workers’ Compensation benefits has paid out, when the employee sues and is paid by a separate third party.
If you find yourself being subrogated in a way that seems unfair, talk to the Pittsburgh work injury lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Our knowledge and experience are your tools in making this complex and bureaucratic system work for you. Call us today at 412-765-1888 or contact us online to request a free case evaluation. We want to hear your story. From our office in Pittsburgh, we represent injured workers across western Pennsylvania including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.