When a worker suffers a work-related injury caused by another person’s negligence, he or she may file a third-party claim against the responsible person and still receive workers’ compensation benefits. Through a third-party claim, the injured employee may recover intangible damages like loss of independence, emotional strain, or pain and suffering, which are normally not covered under the workers’ compensation.
Filing a Third-Party Lawsuit
An employee who is injured at work by a third party can pursue workers’ compensation and at the same time bring a third-party claim against the person liable for his or her injuries. Since workers’ compensation is built around a no-fault system, the injured employee can receive benefits without having to demonstrate that his or her employer acted negligently.
Recovering compensation through a third-party lawsuit, on the other hand, calls for the injured employee to demonstrate that the third party acted negligently. He or she must prove the third party caused the circumstances that led to his or her injuries. Otherwise, he or she wouldn’t have suffered the injuries. The injured worker must prove:
- He or she got into a workplace accident
- The third party had a duty of care towards him or her
- The third-party didn’t uphold this duty of care
- His or her injuries originated from the workplace accident
The injured worker can work with a personal injury attorney to help him or her collect adequate evidence to prove these factors. The attorney can review the worker’s injury claim and identify all options for recovering damages. The injured worker can receive workers’ compensation while also seeking compensation for the full scope of his or her damages by suing the at-fault party.
Circumstances When Third Parties Are Legally Responsible for Work Injuries
If the injured employee was driving a company car or was doing a work-related assignment when the accident happened, he or she may sue the responsible driver and lodge a workers’ compensation claim.
Construction Site Accidents
Injuries sustained in construction sites usually lead to third-party lawsuits, as multiple employees from different companies work in one site. An injured construction employee working for a subcontractor may sue the general contractor, who is often in charge of safety on the worksite.
Defective Products or Equipment
Dangerous equipment or defective products may also cause work-related accidents. Brakes may become faulty and result in a car accident. In such a situation, the injured employee may make a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Toxic Chemicals and Substances
An employee may suffer an injury at work as a result of toxic chemicals or hazardous substances. If this happens, the injured party may sue the manufacturer of these chemicals and substances.
Property Owner Liability
Sustaining an injury while on another person’s property is another situation in which an employee can file a third-party claim. For instance, he or she may have visited a client for sales purposes and got bitten by a dog while legally within the property. In this kind of situation, the injured worker may have grounds for a third-party claim against the property owner.