Avoiding Double-Dipping

Third party actions balance the punitive aspect of ensuring that the guilty pay with the practical notion of preventing the injured employee from profiting from his/her injuries. While the law seeks to make the plaintiff whole and restore the plaintiff to his/her pre-loss status, it is reluctant to allow the plaintiff to recover more than what he/she is entitled to. As a result, while the plaintiff is allowed to recover from both the innocent employer and the guilty third party, he/she must reimburse the employer from the amount he/she has recovered from the third party.

Some might argue that while not double-dipping, the injured employee is still getting more than he/she is entitled to on account of the excess that remains once the statutory benefits are deducted from the common law damages. However, this is not quite accurate: the employee is ultimately receiving the amount in damages that he/she would receive from suing the employer in tort alone, had it not been for the Exclusivity of the workers’ compensation remedy.