Labor Department Is Strengthening Procedures To Recover Costs for Federal Employees' Injuries Caused by Third Parties

HRD-79-36: Published: May 9, 1979. Publicly Released: May 9, 1979.

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Millions of dollars in compensation costs for federal civilian employees are not being recovered for work-related injuries caused by third parties.

The Department of Labor has given identification and recovery of third-party actions a low priority. An additional $4.7 million might have been recovered in three Labor district offices during the 3-year period reviewed if more aggressive collection action had been taken. Several general procedural changes implemented by Labor during the review were inadequate due to deficiencies in management controls, training, staffing considerations at the regional solicitors' offices, and to the fact that identification of potentially recoverable claims was left largely to the discretion of the claims examiners. In many cases, employees initiated recovery actions by retaining their own attorneys, who then informed Labor that cases were being pursued. Only minimal time would be required during the initial review for claims examiners to identify potentially recoverable claims and for the regional solicitor's staff to notify the injured employees of their third-party responsibilities and benefits.

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