An Overview of § 1722 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

The section § 1722 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) holds that a person eligible for benefits under workers' compensation, or any such scheme for benefit payments, is disallowed from recovering the amount of benefits paid under this subchapter.
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Statutory Text

§ 1722. Preclusion of recovering required benefits.

In any action for damages against a tortfeasor, or in any uninsured or underinsured motorist proceeding, arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, a person who is eligible to receive benefits under the coverages set forth in this subchapter, or workers' compensation, or any program, group contract or other arrangement for payment of benefits as defined in section 1719 (relating to coordination of benefits) shall be precluded from recovering the amount of benefits paid or payable under this subchapter, or workers' compensation, or any program, group contract or other arrangement for payment of benefits as defined in section 1719.

Key Terms and Definitions:

Tortfeasor:

This is a person who commits a wrongful act that causes harm or loss, for which a civil proceeding can be brought.

Preclusion:

In the context of this section, it signifies the act of preventing someone from doing something or the act of prevent a particular outcome in law.

Coordination of Benefits:

It is a clause in insurance policies used when a person has two or more health insurance plans. The goal is to ensure that payment from all health policies do not exceed 100% of the claim cost.

Relevance to Pennsylvania Drivers:

The § 1722 necessitates understanding for all drivers in Pennsylvania, as this law fundamentally impacts a victim's course of action after a car accident. Any recoverable benefits one already receives under the coverage set forth in this subchapter, workers' compensation, or any benefit-paying scheme will be precluded from recovery in the litigation for damages against the liable party.

Relevance to Pennsylvania Attorneys:

For attorneys, knowledge of the MVFRL Section § 1722 is essential, as it directly affects the compensation claims they might be handling for their clients, particularly those involving motor vehicle incidents. The restrictions in this section can significantly change a legal claim's trajectory and might impact the legal strategies and advice they impart.

Advanced Analysis:

The language in § 1722 is unambiguous and unequivocally states that anyone eligible to receive benefits cannot also seek to recoup these amounts in either uninsured or underinsured motorist proceedings or any action for damages. This language suggests the intent to prevent double recovery for the same damage or loss, thus ensuring the responsible use of insurance benefits.

However, it's worth noting the 1993 Partial Repeal clause that repeals § 1722 insofar as it relates to workers’ compensation payments or other benefits payable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

This specific language change implies that despite the original intent of the law, enough cases or situations found it necessary or justifiable for double recovery specifically concerning Workers' Compensation - leading to its exception from this preclusion law.

These legislative changes and the implied reasoning behind them demonstrate the dynamic nature of the law, adapting to changing conditions and realities. Attorneys and drivers need to be mindful of these changes as they can significantly influence how claims and benefits are handled following a motor vehicle accident. Precise comprehension of this section and its implications are crucial for Pennsylvania drivers and attorneys alike.

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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