Luzerne County Auto Accident Victim Defeats Insurance Co.

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A November 17, 2010 decision of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a Luzerne County Trial Judge’s decision in favor of an injured car crash victim. A woman was injured in a car accident and successfully won her case at trial. The negligent defendant’s insurance carrier refused to pay the jury award without naming Medicare on the check. In the alternative, the defense wanted to pay the jury verdict amount into a court fund with proof required from Medicare that all its liens had been satisfied.

The Luzerne County judge ruled that neither the defendant nor its insurance company had the legal basis under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSPA) to assert a Medicare lien for the United States government. Since a private party can’t bring suit to obtain reimbursement of Medicare payments, it can not mandate Medicare’s involvement in the payment of a damage award. To satisfy a judgment for monetary damages, payment of the debt owed must be made solely to the victorious party specified in the jury’s verdict. Zaleppa v. Seiwell, 9 A.3d 632 (Pa. Super. 2010).