Ordinarily, workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania is an “exclusive remedy.” That means, the typical injured worker in PA cannot sue anyone for his or her injuries, and only has benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) available. There are exceptions when the injury was caused by the negligence of a third party (a party other than the employer).
However, as we have noted in the past, the Act is designed so that the injured worker receives none of the benefits of the damages recovered in the personal injury (“third party” case). This concept is called “subrogation.” We recently observed this happening to one of our clients.
One of our clients suffered significant injuries, which were caused by a third party. A civil suit was filed (in addition to the workers’ compensation action). This civil suit was handled by a law firm other than us (our firm limits its practice to PA workers’ compensation cases, though we can certainly refer clients to excellent attorneys for any aspect of the law).