Are Litigation Costs Part of the ''Compensation'' In Workers' Compensation Cases ?
In Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board v. Bethlehem Mines Corporation, 23 Pa. Commw. 517, 353 A.2d 79, 81 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1976), this Court noted:
The purposes of Section 440 . . . are to deter unreasonable contests of workmen's claims and to ensure that claimants successful in litigation of their claims should receive compensation undiminished by the cost of litigation . . . .
We find nothing invidious in the provision to successful claimants of their reasonable litigation costs and the denial of such costs to insurers which have successfully contested workmen's claims.
The Court's reasoning remains compelling.
Section 440(a) of the Workers' Compensation Act, 77 P.S. 996(a), outlines that litigation costs and attorney's fees are not "compensation" but are in addition to "compensation."
Also, if Petitioners' litigation costs and attorney's fees were reimbursable under Section 440(a) of the Act, which was obviously not the legislative intent, such allowance would be expanded to include additional litigation as to the reasonableness of the amounts spent by Petitioners in defense of the underlying claim.
Clearly, this was not the intent of the General Assembly.
"The General Assembly does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution or unreasonable." 1 Pa. C.S. 1922(1).