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Pennsylvania: Comp Carrier May Not Maintain Civil Action Against Third-Party Without Assignment from Injured Worker

November 28, 2018 (1 min read)

A divided Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, reiterating the holding in one of its earlier decisions, held that a workers’ compensation carrier may not maintain a third-party civil action against an alleged tortfeasor unless the injured employee has either assigned her cause of action to the carrier or voluntarily joined the litigation as a party plaintiff. Accordingly, where the carrier filed the lawsuit “on behalf of” the injured employee and sought not only to recover its workers’ compensation outlay, but any other damages to which the employee might have been entitled, it was not error for the trial court to dismiss the case. Citing its 2015 Domtar Paperdecision, the majority stressed that there was no authority, statutory or otherwise, that would allow the employee’s cause of action to be pursued by the carrier.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Hartford Ins. Grp. ex rel. Chen v. Kamara, 2018 Pa. LEXIS 6033 (Nov. 21, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 116.01.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, See