Paying Back Workmans Comp from 3rd Party Settlement?

by Alicia
(brooklyn, NY)

If someone is injured on the job and receives workers comp benefits, and also won a 3rd party personal injury claim...

Is workman's compensation supposed to be paid back after the case is settled? Is this a law? If so what is to be paid back? If you can't answer these questions, where can I go to for answers? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Paying Back Workmans Comp from 3rd Party Settlement?":

Alicia (Brooklyn, NY):

Your employers' insurance company paid for your workmans compensation benefits - whatever they were. As a result the insurance company has a legal right to "Subrogate" against the third party who caused your injuries. "Subrogation" means your employer's insurance company has a right to try and recover the money they paid on your behalf.

If you hadn't been working when you were injured no one would have been there to pay your medical bills and part of your lost wages.

When you accept workmans compensation insurance you "surrender" your right to recover twice. You certainly have a right to sue the third party who injured you, but you must wait in line. Your employer's insurance company has a right to go after the third party first to get back the money they paid on your behalf.

Consider if you were an employer and provided health insurance to your employees. As an employer you would be paying substantial monthly premiums to the insurance company.

Then let's say one of your employees was injured on the job by another independent person. As an employer you didn't hesitate. You contacted your insurance company and made sure your employee's medical bills were paid as well as part of his lost wages.

You would then expect your insurance company to be in "1st position" to go after the person who cost them the money they paid for your employee's benefits.

Your insurance company has a right to go after that third party to be paid back the money you were paid. Once your employer's insurance company is paid back then it's your turn to see what's left. Your employer's insurance company is in 1st position and you are in 2nd position. There's no "double dipping" in workers' compensation cases.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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