An Overview of § 1720 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section §1720 in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) discusses the prohibition of subrogation or reimbursement right from a claimant's tort recovery with regard to certain benefits, including workers' compensation benefits.
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Statutory Text

§ 1720. Subrogation.

In actions arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, there shall be no right of subrogation or reimbursement from a claimant's tort recovery with respect to workers' compensation benefits, benefits available under section 1711 (relating to required benefits), 1712 (relating to availability of benefits) or 1715 (relating to availability of adequate limits) or benefits paid or payable by a program, group contract or other arrangement whether primary or excess under section 1719 (relating to coordination of benefits).

Definition of Key Terms:

Subrogation:

In the context of automobile law, subrogation is the right of an insurance company to recover the amount paid to a policyholder from the third party that caused the damage. In short, it’s the insurer’s legal right to seek damages from the responsible party.

Tort Recovery:

This is the compensation recovered in a civil lawsuit from a party who is found responsible for causing harm or damage to another party.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits:

These are payments made to employees who get injured or become ill due to work-related activities.

Program, Group Contract, or Other Arrangement:

These refer to any other insurance agreements or systems that may provide benefits or payments to the claimant.

Importance to Pennsylvanian Drivers:

Chapter 17, §1720 of the MVFRL is crucial for Pennsylvanian drivers as it puts a prohibition on subrogation. It protects drivers who have acquired benefits under certain circumstances, ensuring that claimants could keep the entirety of the tort recovery they receive. This legislation provides an important safeguard for drivers, essentially preventing them from losing out on the full amount of compensation they have been allowed.

Importance to Pennsylvania Attorneys:

For Pennsylvania attorneys, understanding §1720 is critical as it helps them ensure their clients, particularly those who are drivers, receive their rightful tort recovery. Attorneys need to be aware of the possibility of no subrogation to provide accurate legal advice and to ensure their clients fully benefit from injury claims related to motor vehicle use. It also impacts how they strategize to maximize compensation for their clients.

This section, however, is partially repealed as it relates to workers' compensation benefits or payments under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Advanced Language Analysis:

The language used in §1720 of the MVFRL is explicit and straightforward about the prohibition of the right to subrogation. The phrase "there shall be no right of subrogation or reimbursement" solidly affirms this, offering no room for differing interpretations.

The text specifically mentions several sections, "1711 (relating to required benefits), 1712 (relating to availability of benefits) or 1715 (relating to availability of adequate limits)" further narrowing down the benefits that are protected from subrogation.

However, the sentence "1993 Partial Repeal. Section 25(b) of Act 44 provided that section 1720 is repealed insofar as it relates to workers' compensation payments or other benefits payable under the Workers' Compensation Act.", confuses the nature of the restriction imposed by §1720, particularly in relation to workers' compensation. Its inclusion indicates an intentional amendment, suggesting that subrogation could potentially occur concerning claims involving workers' compensation.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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