PA Chamber supported legislation, S.B. 319, to clarify language in the Workers’ Compensation Act as it relates to subrogation rights was passed by the Senate Labor & Industry Committee last week.
A memo sent to the committee prior to the vote noted that a long-standing principle of workers’ compensation has been the right of employers to be reimbursed for certain expenses if a third party is found liable for the injury. Courts have upheld so-called subrogation rights in order to hold negligent third-parties accountable, mitigate the impact on non-negligent employers and prevent double recovery by claimants. Subrogation has included allowing employers to offset future wage-loss and medical costs if the third-party recovery exceeds the compensation paid by employer. However, in the 2018 Whitmoyer decision, the PA Supreme Court found that the ability to offset future costs only applied to wage-loss benefits, not medical expenses. This legislation makes a technical change to address the Court’s concern.
The legislation now goes to the full Senate for consideration.