Workers’ compensation is one of the most important safety nets in existence for employees who are injured on the job – but it’s also somewhat limited. Many times, it’s not nearly enough.
If you’ve been hurt at work, workers’ comp is usually the only course of action you have – even when your employer was negligent. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue a personal injury claim against any third party who has also contributed to your injuries.
How do third-party claims differ from workers’ comp claims?
A successful third-party claim can provide additional compensation above and beyond the wage replacement benefits that workers’ comp provides. In addition, a successful third-party claim can provide additional compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and other non-economic damages.
When is a third-party claim possible? Consider these examples:
- You’re working with a piece of defective machinery that breaks, causing you serious injuries to your hands and face.
- You’re making a delivery for your employer when a distracted driver hits you.
- You’re working construction and a subcontractor loses control of their materials and you’re struck on the head by something they dropped from above.
- You were exposed to toxic fumes from a chemical used on your job and the manufacturer failed to put the appropriate warnings on the chemical’s container.
- You’re assaulted in the workplace one night while you’re pulling a late shift because the security company your employer uses didn’t properly screen their employees.
- You’re doing a walk-through to give an estimate for repairs on a home, but the homeowner fails to warn you that the steps leading to the basement are broken and you fall.
These are just some of the ways that third-party claims are possible. Since every situation is unique, it’s better to get legal guidance. Discussing the circumstances of your accident with someone who understands the possibilities can help prevent you from leaving money behind that could be put to better use for you and your family.