The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (the act) provides employers subrogation rights, applicable where injured workers receiving workers’ compensation benefits recover for their work injuries but in a claim against a third party other than the employer. Employers may thus recover for benefits paid to or on behalf of an injured worker, where that injured worker has recovered from a third party. For example, the delivery driver who was working and injured while rear-ended by a negligent third party. The employer pays workers’ compensation benefits to the delivery driver, who makes a claim against the other driver. When the injured worker recovers a settlement or judgment due to the motor vehicle incident and the other driver’s negligence, the employer can then recover from those funds from the third-party case for workers’ compensation paid and payable.
There is a three-fold rationale for employers’ subrogation entitlements: to prevent a double recovery by the worker for the same injury, to ensure the employer is not compelled to make payments only made necessary by the act of a third party, and to prevent a third party from escaping liability for his own conduct. See Dale Manufacturing v. Bressi, 421 A.2d 653 (Pa. 1980).