Worker’s compensation benefits are available to employees who are injured on the job, but do they apply under all circumstances? Actually, no. Worker’s compensation laws, requirements, and eligibility standards vary somewhat from one state to another, and the laws regarding third party liability may also vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. If you suffered a serious injury while on the job, regardless of who caused your injury, talk to a worker’s compensation lawyer. Many injured workers do not have a full understanding of their options for obtaining benefits. After a complimentary consultation to discuss your case with a lawyer, you can save time and frustration by making informed decisions.
What is covered by worker’s compensation benefits?
Worker’s compensation benefits are intended to pay injured employees for their medical treatment costs, a percentage of their normal wages, and other expenses related to their injury. For the employer, worker’s compensation benefits are intended to protect them from civil lawsuits that might otherwise be filed against them by injured workers. As a result, if an employee accepts worker’s compensation benefits, they cannot sue their employer for damages associated with their workplace injury. However, if the accident was caused by someone who is not employed by your employer, or if that person contributed to the accident, they and their employer are not protected by the worker’s compensation program. Depending on the legal advice of your worker’s compensation lawyer, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the third party, and possibly also collect worker’s compensation benefits. You will not be eligible for compensation beyond your damages, but your damages could include pain and suffering and other conditions. Though workers compensation benefits do not cover pain and suffering, those types of damages can be included in a civil lawsuit against the third party. It’s very important that you consult an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer before taking action.
A worker’s compensation lawyer can represent you in seeking benefits from your employer as well as represent you in a third-person personal injury lawsuit, should either or both avenues be your best option.
What are common examples of third party lawsuits related to workplace injury accidents?
Third party lawsuits are not unusual. Here are several common scenarios in which they often occur:
- A defective machine malfunctions and injures the worker. The manufacturer of that machine may be liable for all or a portion of the worker’s injury damages.
- While performing a work errand, a negligent driver causes a car accident involving the worker. That negligent driver may be liable for all or a portion of the worker’s injury damages.
- A negligent contractor or subcontractor causes an injury accident in the workplace. The injured worker may have grounds for filing a lawsuit against the at-fault third party.