Can a Third Party Be Liable for My Workplace Injury?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Mar 21, 2019 in Workers' Compensation
Employees injured at work may not be able to sue their employer since they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, this does not prevent an employee from holding a third-party liable for causing him or her harm while on the job.
If another person other than your employer caused your work-related injury or illness, filing a third-party claim can help you recover damages not provided by workers’ compensation, allowing you to access the maximum compensation you deserve.
Below, our Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys discuss what you need to know about third-party claims. If you need help, contact us today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
Work Injury Cases Involving Third Parties
There are several situations in which you may be able to sue for damages caused by a third party. These include:
- Your injury was caused by a defective product, which may allow you to file a claim against the product’s manufacturer. Defective products may include faulty tools and equipment as well as unsecured items and merchandise.
- A toxic substance caused your injury, which may allow you to bring a claim against the substance’s manufacturer.
- Your work-related injury is due to an auto accident, which may allow you to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance carrier.
- If your injuries were caused by a slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a claim against the facility manager or property owner.
- In construction site accidents, another company also working on the jobsite could be held liable depending on the circumstances of your injury.
Liability in a Third-Party Claim
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, negligence is a factor when it comes to third party claims. This means that in order for your claim to be successful, you must show that the third party acted or failed to act in a way that prevented you from suffering harm.
Your claim must prove:
- The third party owed you a duty of care. This is often implied, such as with a property owner allowing you onto his or her property, a vehicle driver on the road, or a manufacturer who offers a product.
- The third party breached the duty of care that was owed to you. Failing to keep a property safe, breaking traffic laws while driving, or manufacturing products that are inherently unsafe are examples of how duty of care may be breached.
- The third party’s breach of duty of care caused your injury. You would not have suffered the injury absent of the defendant’s actions.
- You suffered losses due to your injury. These may be medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability.
Filing a Third-Party Claim for a Workplace Injury
To file a third-party claim, you must do so within one year after the injury occurred. If you miss the one-year deadline, you lose the right to file a third-party claim, but the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may still do so.
By also filing a third-party claim, you must notify the workers’ compensation insurance carrier that you intend to do so. This includes keeping the insurance carrier informed of developments during your case. The insurance carrier is a party of interest in your claim and not giving notice of pleadings and rulings related to the case can affect the outcome of your claim.
Once you reach a settlement with the third party, the insurance carrier must provide written consent. If this is not done, you may lose benefits under your workers’ compensation claim. The insurer has a right of lien pertaining to certain elements of the settlement recovered from a third party.
The workers’ compensation insurer may issue a lien over benefits for:
The insurer is not permitted to place a lien on funds related to independent medical examinations or administrative costs.
Contact an Experienced Attorney to Get Started
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our experienced team of legal professionals at Phillips Law Group can review your case and guide you throughout the entire claims process to recover the benefits you need.
Request a free, no obligation consultation and learn what legal options are available. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.