An employee injured at work is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to cover medical costs and lost wages that are the direct result of their work-related injury. Workers that accept workers’ compensation payments are giving up their right to bring charges against the employer for any negligence, even if the employer was responsible for causing the injury.
Third party claims are different from regular workers’ comp claims. They are not filed against the employer or other employees; instead, they are made against a separate company or individual that is also responsible for the worker’s injury, whether it is partially or fully responsible. These claims happen when a worker is injured because of a product defect or someone outside of their employer’s supervision - such as a vendor or customer.
Most workers’ compensation recipients do not realize that they still have the option of filing a third party claim regardless if they have accepted payouts from workers’ compensation insurance.
There are several defendants that can be listed in a third-party claim, and these defendants will depend on the circumstances of your injury. Some common individuals or entities that can be held liable for your work-related injuries include:
● The manufacturer or seller of workplace equipment, such as tools or materials, that have a manufacturing or design defect that caused your injury or made your injury more severe.
● A driver that caused an auto accident and injured a worker that was driving for employment reasons.
● An owner of a business that an employee visits as part of their job, and that business owner fails to keep their building safe. For example, an employee delivers something to another business as a part of their job, and slips and falls on a wet sidewalk.
Sometimes the defendants in a third party claim can overlap. For example, a worker is driving a truck as part of their job. The driver experiences a flat tire because the tire was manufactured incorrectly. As the driver is trying to change the tire, another vehicle hits the driver. In this instance, the manufacturer of the defective tire and the driver of the other vehicle are both responsible for this work-related injury, and both can be named in the suit.
Even though workers’ compensation insurance benefits will cover lost wages and medical costs, it is not there to cover the general damages such as pain and suffering. Also, it does not cover punitive damages, which focus on reckless behavior by the negligent party. By filing a third party claim through an attorney, you can get additional compensation for your injuries and losses that are not covered by workers’ compensation.
If you were injured at work, but there is a third party that is also responsible for your injuries, the workers’ compensation professionals at Pothitakis Law Firm can help. Contact us today for a free consultation at 866-753-4692 or fill out an online contact form.