The Difference Between Third Party and Workers’ Compensation Claims
When an employee is injured at work, workers’ compensation benefits are the most common remedy for high medical bills and lost income.
However, if a third party is responsible for the worker’s ailments, the injured employee may pursue compensation through a third party work injury claim.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Third Party Claims
Most workplace injuries are the fault of the employee who was hurt, a coworker, management, or some combination of the three. In these cases, workers’ compensation typically provides financial relief in the form of medical and lost income benefits.
However, worker injuries are sometimes caused by a non-employee, such as:
- A subcontractor who failed to adhere to safety guidelines
- The owner of the property where the worker was injured
- The manufacturer of defective components or machinery
- Another driver who caused an accident while the worker was driving on behalf of his employer
Third Party Claims
Employees receiving workers’ compensation benefits are barred from suing their employers for additional damages. However, injured workers can still initiate a lawsuit against third parties, regardless of their workers’ compensation status.
As with any personal injury lawsuit, the injured employee must demonstrate that:
- The third party owed the injured worker a duty of care
- The third party breached this duty of care
- Injuries resulted from this breach
- The injured worker has the right to pursue damages in court
Pursuing a Third Party Claim
If your work-related injuries were caused by a third party, you can still qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits provide coverage for medical expenses; supplemental income if you miss work while you recover; payments for permanent disability; and retraining if you're unable to return to your job.
Third party claims, on the other hand, allow you to sue for emotional trauma, pain and suffering, loss of independence, and punitive damages.
You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you pursue these claims. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.