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Subrogation: What it Means and How it Can Impact Your Workplace Injury Compensation

Money and GavelMost California workers know that when they are injured or become ill while on the job, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. When the injury or illness is caused by the careless actions of a third party, the injured worker can also bring a lawsuit against that negligent third party. This can enable the injured worker to recover compensation for injuries and damages that are not fully compensated through workers’ compensation benefits. Due to subrogation, however, an injured worker’s recovery through a third-party lawsuit may not be as large as he or she might expect.

What is Subrogation?

Generally speaking, subrogation refers to the substitution of one person in the place of another with reference to a lawful claim, demand, or right. In the context of a workers’ compensation claim, subrogation refers to the right of your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer to obtain a part – or, in some cases, all – of the compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled.

For instance, suppose that following a workplace injury caused by a careless third-party contractor, you receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries and medical expenses. You thereafter bring a third-party action against the contractor and recover from that contractor compensation for your injuries and medical bills along with other damages. Subrogation would allow your employer’s insurer to recover the amounts you receive from the third-party contractor for injuries and medical bills.

One of the main purposes of subrogation is to prevent the injured employee from getting a windfall, or from receiving double compensation. For example, if you incurred $15,000 in medical bills, it may be deemed unfair to allow you to recover $15,000 from your employer’s insurer and $15,000 from the negligent third party.

Are There Any Benefits to Subrogation?

One of the key benefits to injured workers is that subrogation can encourage your employer’s insurer’s attorney to cooperate with the injured employee’s attorney in recovering compensation from the negligent third party. In some cases, having two separate attorneys working against a negligent third party can encourage the third party to settle a lawsuit more quickly.

Do I Need My Own Attorney?

If you have been injured at work because of the negligence of a third party, you may wonder if you even need your own attorney. Remember, though, that workers’ compensation benefits may not fully compensate you for your injuries. In addition, while your employer’s insurer’s attorney can bring their own lawsuit against a negligent third party, it must be remembered that your employer’s insurer’s attorney is working on behalf of the insurer – not you.

Therefore, it is very beneficial for workers injured by a negligent third party to consult with an experienced third-party workers’ compensation lawsuit attorney like those at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. We will evaluate your case and advise you as to the damages to which you may be entitled. We will fight hard to ensure you obtain and retain all of the damages you need to put your life back together following a workplace accident. Contact the offices of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. – your experienced San Jose workplace injury attorneys - at (408) 289-1417.

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