DLP Secures Award of Workers Compensation Benefits In Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund Case

Date: January 4, 2008

In a case involving the recently-created Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund (UEGF), Attorney Thomas Cummings of the DLP law firm secured an award of wage loss benefits and payment of medical expenses for a gentleman who was injured while employed for an entity whose workers’ compensation insurance coverage had lapsed.
On November 9, 2006, Governor Rendell signed Act 147 into law. Act 147 established and funds the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund, which provides benefits to injured employees of uninsured employers. Article XVI of the act requires that an injured worker notify the Fund within 45 days after the injured worker knew that the employer was uninsured. Further, Act 147 prohibits an injured worker from filing a claim petition against the Fund until at least 21 days after notice of a claim is made to the Fund. Prior to the creation of the UEGF, employees of uninsured employers were limited in their ability to secure payment of benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. With the creation of the UEGF, injured employees could now seek recovery from a state-administered fund which streamlined the litigation process and afforded the opportunity to recover benefits from a viable entity.
The facts in the instant case were both shocking and newsworthy. The injured worker was employed by Zigzag.net, an internet marketing firm. The owner of Zigzag.net also was involved in a separate private investment company. An investor in that company called for a meeting that was scheduled at the Zigzag facility on February 12, 2007. Unfortunately, the investor showed up for the meeting armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic pistol and opened fire, killing three people and wounding a fourth. The surviving victim, the claimant in this case, was able to splice together telephone lines that had been cut by the shooter and call “911”. The shooter subsequently shot and killed himself when confronted by police.
Zigzag.net had allowed it’s workers’ compensation insurance policy to lapse. Fortunately, the UEGF was now in place which afforded the victim the opportunity to pursue a claim based upon the fact that the shooting and resultant injuries had occurred while he was “in the course and scope” of his employment, despite the fact that there was no insurance coverage in place. The UEGF fund was given proper notice and the claim was filed. Depositions and hearing testimony were offered by the victim and a representative of the police department which investigated the shooting. Thereafter, the parties were able to agree to an amicable resolution which provided payment of medical bills and wage loss benefits.
If the shooting had occurred just 4 months earlier prior to the enactment of the UEGF provisions, the injured worker would have been faced with the task of pursuing a claim against an uninsured entity with little assets. The creation of the UEGF allowed the victim the opportunity to secure an award of benefits which justly compensated him for his work-related damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured at work, please feel free to contact me, Attorney Tom Cummings at 570-347-1011 or email me at tcummings@dlplaw,com.

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.