In late July, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center dropped its claim to a settlement that employees had received from State Farm related to a shooting at the hospital in 2012. The employees had earlier settled a claim with State Farm, which had issued a renter’s policy to the gunman, after filing a lawsuit against the gunman’s estate.
The amount of the settlement was $500,000, which was to be divided among the employees at the discretion of an arbitrator. The settlement, strictly for compensatory damages and not for punitive damages, was designed to compensate the employees for medical bills and indemnity benefits. In May 2014, however, the employees received a notice from UPMC’s workers’ compensation division saying that UPMC intended to collect approximately $200,000 of the funds that each employee was to receive.
The employees argued that coverage of their injuries by workers’ compensation insurance was never formally adjudicated and that representatives of the hospital visited them in their hospital rooms shortly after the shooting and assured them that all their medical bills and lost wages would be covered. An attorney representing an employee who was shot in the ankle during the shooting rampage responded to UPMC’s letter by saying that he was “pleased” the hospital “saw fit to do right” by its employees.
In most cases, employees injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which cover such things as medical bills and lost wages. However, claims can get extremely complicated as this article points out. Additionally, the application process is very precise, and benefits are sometimes denied or delayed. Anyone who needs to file a workers’ compensation claim or has been denied benefits may want to consider hiring an attorney with experience in that area to help them reach a resolution.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “UPMC drops reimbursement claim from victims of Western Psych shooting “, Paula Reed Ward, July 31, 2014