Third Party Liability in Workers' Comp Claims
What is "third party liability"?
The purpose of workers' compensation insurance is twofold. On the one
hand, it makes it possible for the injured employee to recover benefits for a
workplace accident without the necessity of proving that the employer is at fault for causing
the injury. At the same time, it shields the employer from behind held
liable for an accident caused by the employer's negligent actions
or omissions. With a workers' compensation policy in place, the employer
cannot be sued by the employee. In some situations, however, it is possible
to sue a third party such as a subcontractor, an automobile driver, a
manufacturer or a property owner.
Why would I want to sue a third party?
The unfortunate fact about
workers' comp benefits is that they are notoriously limited. While you will be able to receive
payment for all of the medical treatment your injury requires, the amount
you can receive in disability benefits is limited to only two-thirds of
your average weekly wages in most cases. By suing a third party, you could
not only secure justice by holding that person accountable for causing
the accident, but could also receive compensation for all of your lost
wages and medical expenses, in addition to monetary damages for your pain
and suffering. A personal injury or wrongful death claim, in other words,
has the potential of fully offsetting your losses.
Common examples of cases in which a third party may be liable include car
accidents, injuries caused by defective equipment or machinery, accidents
occurring on property not owned or managed by the employer, and injuries
resulting from the negligence of a subcontractor on the jobsite. The amount
you recover in your accident claim may be in addition to the benefits
you receive through workers' compensation. To learn whether you may
have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact
us now at Clawson & Clawson, LLP.