Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Comment on Workers’ Compensation Carriers Sharing Third-Party Recoveries | Law Firm Newswire

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Comment on Workers’ Compensation Carriers Sharing Third-Party Recoveries

Petrillo & Goldberg Law.

Petrillo & Goldberg Law.

Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) October 20, 2016 – In a published ruling, the appeals court stated that the Workers’ Compensation Act has control over claims against third-party tortfeasors who suffer injuries in motor vehicle accidents while they are engaged in employment.

In the case of Lambert v. Travelers Indemnity Company of America, three judges resolved disagreements between the workers’ compensation law and the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act, both of which concern the way in which medical liens should be satisfied. The decision was released in August 2016, in three separate cases that were consolidated because they dealt with similar issues.

Prominent South Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys Petrillo & Goldberg stated, “These cases highlight the importance of focusing on the medical expenses paid by Workers’ Compensation at the time of settlement negotiations. Failure to address this issue could adversely affect the amount of recovery from the tortfeasor.”

As reported in the New Jersey Law Journal, plaintiff, Jennifer Lambert, worked as a school bus aide for the Howell Township Board of Education. She sustained an injury when the bus she was riding was struck by a vehicle operated by Kaitlin Antonaccio. Ms. Lambert filed a workers’ compensation claim, which resulted in a payment by Travelers in the amount of $94,705 to cover her medical expenses, and $54,695 for compensation benefits.

Ms. Lambert filed a lawsuit against Ms. Antonaccio, culminating in a settlement of $300,000. Ms. Lambert’s attorney made an offer of reimbursement to Travelers in the amount of $35,713. This was two-thirds of the workers’ compensation benefit she obtained, minus $750 in statutory costs. However, Ms. Lambert would not reimburse Travelers for medical expenses. When Travelers refused to accept the offer, Ms. Lambert filed a claim to abate Travelers’ medical lien.

In the second case, the plaintiff, Paul Reed, worked as a police officer in Marlboro, and was directing traffic when he was hit by a car operated by Vladlen Futernik. Mr. Reed received $60,430 from the Monmouth County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund to cover his medical bills, and $44,578 as compensation benefits. Mr. Reed filed a lawsuit against Mr. Futernik, resulting in a settlement of $100,000. Mr. Reed also filed an uninsured motorist claim against New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance, and reached a settlement in the amount of $199,000, making his total compensation $299,000.

The third case involved plaintiff, William Agar, a police officer from Hazlett, who was seated in his police car when it was rear-ended by Ethel McCaffrey. The Monmouth County JIF paid him $4,331 in medical benefits and $15,693 in workers’ compensation benefits. Mr. Agar also filed a lawsuit against Ms. McCaffrey that resulted in a settlement of $60,000. The JIF then filed a claim against Mr. Agar’s receipt of compensation benefits and payment to cover his medical bills. When the parties were unable to resolve the issue, Mr. Agar filed a lawsuit to annul the JIF lien on his medical recovery.

Upon hearing the three cases, Superior Court Judge Joseph Quinn of Monmouth County permitted plaintiffs to eliminate the liens for medical expenses. In support of his decision, he cited Dever v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, an unpublished 2013 case from the Appellate Division. In Dever, the court held that an insurance company does not have a legal claim on the medical part of a third-party lien. Judge Quinn said that since the workers suffered injuries during the course of employment, they should receive the same treatment as no-fault insureds. Thus, any payments received from the tortfeasor must exclude medical expenses that were paid by an insurer. In addition, because the injured worker was unable to recover medical expenses from the tortfeasor, the workers’ compensation insurer could not obtain repayment of medical expenses under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Petrillo & Goldberg Law

6951 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

19 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

70 South Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096

Phone: 856-486-4343
Fax: 856:486-7979

  • Workers’ compensation for worker who contracted Legionnaires’ Disease
    A Pennsylvania court ruled that a man who became disabled after developing Legionnaires’ Disease, is entitled to workers’ compensation and medical benefits. Shawn Gillen said he contracted Legionnaires’ Disease as a result of exposure to contaminated water while he was performing his job responsibilities at Nestle USA Inc. According to court records, Gillen was stationed […]
  • Settlement of labor law accusations against six South Jersey gas stations
    According to their U.S. Labor Department, the proprietors of six South Jersey gas stations will pay over $460,000 to employees who worked 70 hours per week for an amount below the minimum wage, and received no compensation for overtime. USA Gas station owners Prabhit Singh and Harbir Piar were alleged to have violated the department’s […]
  • Governor Christie says he will approve back pay for furloughed workers during government shutdown
    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would approve legislation to restore compensation for workers who were laid off when the state government was shut down. This marked the second shutdown in the history of the state. A representative from his office said he does not possess the authority to do this on his own. […]
  • Long wait for survivor benefits for the spouse of volunteer
    Following the death of Scott Danielson, a member of the Lakeland Ambulance Squad and Andover Borough Councilman, his wife was left with a number of financial setbacks. Although it has been a year and a half since her husband’s death, she has yet to receive survivor benefits from the state. Shortly after her husband’s death, […]
  • Settlement in retaliation suit grants city employee $75K
    A city worker who claimed he was demoted and terminated after filing two workers’ compensation claims for injuries sustained at work has settled his lawsuit against Galloway for $75,000. Frank Chamberlain stated he received negative reviews from his supervisors and many disciplinary notices after he filed the second workers’ compensation claim in 2011. The suit […]

Tags: , , , , ,

Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required