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In Pennsylvania, can I file a workers’ compensation claim and sue a third party in court for the same work-related accident?

Workers’ compensation is insurance carried by employers to cover the medical expenses and wage compensation for injuries employees suffer while in the course of employment. An employee is in the course of employment if they are actively performing their job duties at the time of an accident.

After the employee notifies their employer of the accident, the employer reviews and decides whether to approve the workers’ compensation claim. Upon approval, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer pays medical and wage benefits to the employee. However, in cases where the injury occurred because of a third-party’s wrongful act, the employee may also file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. If the employee wins the case, the employer must be reimbursed for any payments already made to the employee under the workers’ compensation claim. The reimbursement is subtracted from the total award amount from the lawsuit. The injured employee is prohibited from double recovery of the damages for the same work-related accident.

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