Personal Injury Victim Must Repay DPW in Full

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A December 2009 ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed a decision of the PA Superior Court and ordered parents to reimburse the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare (DPW) for all Medicare expenses incurred on behalf of their disabled child.  The girl was born with severe disabilities.  Her parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit versus Centre Community Hospital 2 months before she turned 18.

A personal injury settlement was agreed to during the litigation.  From the day she was born until the date of the settlement, DPW had paid a total of $56,517.81.  Due to the 2 year Statute of Limitations, the parents were only able to recover a small portion of that sum in the litigation.  Nonetheless, the Centre County Trial Judge ordered the parents to pay DPW 100% of their lien.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court had reversed the Trial Court ruling and required payment of only the medical expenses recoverable from the negligent Defendant.  The PA Supreme Court vacated this decision and reinstated the Trial Court ruling.  While all future Medicaid beneficiaries can sue their tortfeasors to recover all medical payments made on their behalf, the Boumaster family was required to reimburse DPW tens of thousands of dollars they were unable to recover from the negligent hospital.  E. D. B. Ex Rel. D. B. v Clair, 987 A.2d 681 (PA 2009)

For a personal injury consultation call 800-980-4842