Case Law Update | Whitmoyer v. WCAB (Pa. Cmwlth. December 1, 2016) | PA Work Injury

December 1, 2016

http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/614CD15_12-1-16.pdf?cb=1

 

In this factually complex workers’ compensation appeal involving an employer’s subrogation rights, we are asked whether those rights extend beyond indemnity payments and also reach payments toward medical bills. Although this issue has already been decided, new arguments are raised in reliance on recent Supreme Court decisions.

 Craig Whitmoyer (Claimant) argues the workers’ compensation authorities erred in granting Mountain Country Meats’ (Employer) petition to modify a compensation agreement reached after a third-party negligence claim was resolved. The parties refer to the compensation agreement at issue as a “third party settlement agreement.” The modification reflected additional medical expenses Employer paid for Claimant’s 1993 work injury. The third-party settlement agreement contemplated that, after payment of the employer’s accrued (past) workers’ compensation lien, the $189,416.27 balance of the claimant’s third party negligence recovery would constitute a fund for credit against “future workers’ compensation payable.” 

The primary issue is whether the term “compensation” in Section 319 of the Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) (relating to subrogation of employer to rights of employee against third persons) encompasses medical expenses in addition to indemnity benefits. Concluding that it does, we affirm.

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