Third-party liability may be an avenue for financial recovery after a workplace injury
When you are injured at work, you have the right to pursue a third-party lawsuit against a responsible party even if you also have filed for or are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. A third-party lawsuit is a personal injury claim against another individual or entity other than your employer that is liable for the work accident. A third party may be the manufacturer of a defective or malfunctioning piece of work equipment, resulting in injuries such as toxic fumes or exposure or due to a faulty mechanical error on machinery, or the driver of a vehicle causing a car accident while working.
Third-party liability lawsuits are handled like general personal injury claims; however, these cases are often more complicated due to the application of workers’ compensation and determining who the negligent party is. Third-party liability claims often result in third-party settlements.
Workers’ Comp or Third-Party Lawsuit?
An employee injured on the job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether the cause of the accident is due to fault on the part of the employer, the employee or a third person. The workers’ compensation process avoids the court system and proof of fault so benefits can be applied almost immediately. Benefits are limited to a percentage of lost earnings and medical expenses associated with your injury. Through an award, wage loss payments are about two-thirds of your average weekly wages (AWW) for the time you are unable to work. If you’ve suffered a severe or catastrophic injury workers’ comp benefits will likely not be enough to cover mounting legal bills and lengthy or permanent inability to earn an income. In some cases an employee may have a claim against a third party that played a role in causing you harm on the job.
What is a Third-Party Liability Claim?
A third-party liability claim is a legal remedy available in some instances after suffering an injury while working.
Catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury, nerve damage, brain injury or amputations are often life-altering and may require medical care many years after injury. Some victims may never regain their social independence. These injuries resulting in long-term or permanent inability to perform work are cases which may warrant a third party claim to compensate for the devastating financial and emotional toll from a life-changing injury.
Liability refers to bodily injury caused because of negligent or reckless actions by the third party. In a workplace accident, third-party liability may arise when an incident is due to an individual or entity that is separate from the employer, such as the driver who causes a car accident that injures a worker on the job, owners of businesses a worker visits as part of their job or the manufacturer or installer of defective equipment or machinery. Third-party lawsuits usually are not available against an employee’s supervisor or coworker.
Navigating a Personal Injury Claim
Understanding when you have a possible third-party claim is not always easy, especially when you are focused on your recovery and getting back to work. A strong understanding of your state’s personal injury and workers’ comp laws is important in determining whether you have a third-party claim that is worth pursuing.
Personal injury laws vary from state to state, including: statutes of limitations, comparative negligence laws, wrongful death provisions, damage caps, and negligence per se standards.
Read more about workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
Tenacious Trial Lawyers with Deep Personal Injury Expertise
Trammell Piazza represents clients in high stakes civil litigation throughout the nation, primarily in the Southeast. With offices in Texarkana and Little Rock, Arkansas, Trammell Piazza is known for its excellent legal reputation and substantial courtroom experience and recoveries.
We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing while your claim is being worked through the courts and unless we receive a positive settlement or judgment in your case. Contact Trammell Piazza’s catastrophic injury lawyers today for a free initial consultation, and an experienced attorney will review the details of your case and help you determine the best course of action.