If you get injured on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may cover your medical bills and time missed from work. However, when you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you give up your right to sue your employer. But what if an outside party causes the accident? That’s when you bring a third-party liability claim.
What’s a third-party liability claim?
Third-party liability refers to bodily injury caused by negligent or reckless behavior from someone or some company separate from your employer.
Say you’re making deliveries for work and a truck driver hits the side of your van. You could recover workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries, as well as file a third-party claim against the truck driver and the trucking company that employed him.
Third-party liability claims can also stem from defective products. And if a company fails to keep their building or sidewalks clear of hazards, they could also face a third-party liability claim.
How do I prove third-party liability?
Much like a standard negligence case, an injured worker has to prove the third party had a duty to provide a safe product or environment; that they breached that duty; and that the breach caused the injuries.
In the case of a defective product, the injured worker may only have to prove strict liability. In this case, the injured worker must prove the product was defective and that it caused him or her harm.
Why should I file a third-party liability claim?
State law limits most workers’ compensation payments. Considering the high cost of health care, and the devastating financial impact of missing days or weeks of work, workers’ comp may not provide all the compensation you need.
Workers’ compensation also doesn’t extend to general pain and suffering damages. It also doesn’t cover punitive damages, which apply if a third party acts recklessly.
What should I look for in a liability lawyer?
If you’ve been injured on the job, and an outside person or company contributed to your injuries, contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. You don’t have to hire the first one you call. Interview multiple lawyers to find a professional with the background that meets your needs.
A lawyer representing your third-party liability claim should have experience working with workers’ compensation lawyers. They should also continue to negotiate if you prevail. Why?
If you collect compensation in a third-party liability claim, workers’ compensation insurers have the right to collect what they’ve already paid you. Your lawyer should advocate on your behalf during these secondary negotiations to maximize the amount you receive.