So, Who Really Pays? -as seen in Hempfield Rountable
Born and raised in Lancaster County, our firm’s founder is proud to continue to provide legal advice and services to his fellow Lancastrians. Recently, attorney Anthony Georgelis wrote an article for the Hempfield Roundtable, a publication sent out to the residents of Hempfield School District. This article explains why many good-hearted injury victims, who are hesitant to pursue just compensation for their losses, are surprised to learn “Who Really Pays.” Here’s a closer look at why being fairly compensated for your injuries rarely brings hardship to the person who caused the accident or the employer where the work injury happened.
So, Who Really Pays? as seen in Hempfield Roundtable
As a personal injury attorney, I encounter many people who have been injured in motor vehicle, slip/trip and fall and work accidents. The injuries that result from negligent third-party acts or accidents at work can be life-altering to one’s health and well-being and, in many cases, devastating financially. Regardless, most victims of these accidents are not thrilled with the prospect of having to pursue legal action in order to recover fair and appropriate compensation for the losses they have suffered and may continue to suffer into the future. Thus, many times, when I
initially meet with someone thrust into this position—through no fault of their own—it is common for them to express a sentiment like, “I would prefer not to sue anyone,” or, “Do I have to involve my employer in this?”
In the context of the type of personal injury claim I see most often—those arising from motor vehicle accidents—many times, quite understandably, good-hearted Lancastrians are hesitant to do something that might bring hardship, financial or otherwise, upon the liable party through legal action. It is important to know, however, that a bodily injury claim, prior to the filing of a lawsuit, rarely requires any involvement on the part of the liable party. The vast majority of these claims are resolved pre-suit, but even those that do move into formal litigation infrequently make it to trial before resolving in some fashion. From a monetary perspective, regardless of whether the claim settles pre- or post-suit, or even goes to trial—with few exceptions—the liable party’s insurance company issues compensation to the person who was injured. Thus, as part of this compensation
process, there is no personal financial outlay by the individual who caused the accident.
Similarly, in the realm of workers’ compensation claims, unless an employer is self-insured, almost always, wage loss and medical benefits are paid to/on behalf of the injured worker by the company’s insurance carrier, with no financial responsibility for this compensation falling on the employer. In the event of a lump settlement of an employee’s workers’ comp claim—a mechanism of resolution used frequently to the benefit of all parties involved—it is the workers’ compensation insurance company that issues these funds to the employee or employee’s dependent (again,
when the employer is not self-funded), not the employer.
My point in telling you this is that it is extremely rare that pursuing a bodily injury or workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania will bring about financial hardship to the person who caused the accident or the employer where the work injury occurred, respectively. There is a reason that our legislature enacted laws to redress civil wrongs and established a system to provide indemnity and medical benefits to those injured while in the course and scope of their employment: to protect the victims of negligence and work accidents by providing them with compensation to make them whole again from their losses. And, let’s not forget that insurance companies are businesses. They take in billions of dollars each year from premiums paid by individuals and business entities, in exchange for providing protection against legal claims and lawsuits.