Scranton Work Injury/ Personal Injury Lawyers

Date: May 2, 2012
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The Pa. Supreme Court in Heller v. Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities has determined that the provision of a borough’s municipal insurance policy excluding underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage for a claim by an individual eligible for workers’ compensation benefits was void as against public policy. The Court reasoned that the exclusion rendered UIM coverage “illusory” noting that the borough accepted a mandatory offering under  the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) and paid a premium for UIM coverage for borough employees operating municipal vehicles during the course and scope of their employment. However, by virtue of exclusion, the insurer receives a windfall by charging a premium for the UIM coverage would almost never attach, since the vast majority of UIM claims would be made by borough employees eligible for workers’ compensation.

          The Court also stated that the exclusion violated the statutory scheme for coordination of benefits evident in the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) as the MVFRL reflected a clear legislative intent to place the burden for payment of benefits on the tortfeasor or UIM carrier in cases in which a third-party caused a work-related injury, and the UIM policy exclusion reversed that legislative priority by impeding the workers’ compensation carrier’s right of subrogation.

 

If you’ve suffered an injury either at work or as the result of the conduct of another party and have questions about your claim, contact me at tcummings@dlplaw.com or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

 

 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.