Monday, March 6, 2017

Superior Court Addresses Propriety of Worker's Compensation Carrier Suing Tortfeasor for Recovery of Lien

In the case of The Hartford Ins. Grp. v. Kamara, No. 976 EDA 2016 (Pa. Super. Feb. 10, 2017 Olson, Solano, Fitzgerald, JJ.)(Op. by Olson, J.), the court ruled that a a workers' compensation carrier could pursue claim against third-party tortfeasors by asserting the claim on behalf of the injured employee to establish the tortfeasors' liability to the injured employee, as opposed to bringing a subrogation claim.

The court rejected the argument by the defendants  that the Complaint should have been dismissed because appellant was attempting to assert subrogation directly against third-party tortfeasors in violation of the Workers' Compensation Act which provided that a right of action against tortfeasors remained in the injured employee such that an employer's/insurer's right of subrogation had to be achieved through an action brought in the name of the injured employee or joined by the injured employee.

The Superior Court held that the worker’s compensation carrier properly brought the action on behalf of the injured employee to establish the tortfeasors' liability to her. The Court reasoned that the Workers' Compensation Act did not require an injured employee to be party to a suit for an employer or insurer to be able to assert its subrogation rights, but merely required the suit to be brought on behalf of or in the name of the injured employee.

Anyone wishing to review this Opinion online may click HERE.

 

Source:  “Digests of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Feb. 28, 2017).

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