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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.

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