Third-party liability claims in workers’ compensation cases

Most readers in Jasper, and elsewhere, are aware that some jobs have a greater risk for occupational injuries than others. On one level or another, however, there is danger for employees in nearly every field and profession to be injured on the job. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to three million workers sustained workplace injuries in 2012, the last year for which statistics were available, alone. While many injured employees rely on their workers’ compensation benefits to provide medical treatment coverage and wage benefits, there are some cases in which a third party may also be held liable for workers’ injuries.

Third-party liability claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit that may be filed in certain workers’ compensation cases. In general, state and federal laws require employers to take certain precautions to ensure their workers’ safety in the workplace, some accidents may occur that are beyond their control. Depending on the circumstances in these cases, liability may be assessed to another person or company. For example, if a piece of machinery is defective and it causes an employee to be injured, the employee could choose to take civil legal action against the equipment’s manufacturer. This allows injured workers to hold other parties, including negligent or intentionally harmful coworkers and product manufacturers, which may have contributed to the cause of the accident, liable.

In the majority of cases, workers’ compensation benefits cover medical expenses and provide partial payments for lost wages resulting from time off of work for recovery. These types of benefits do not typically provide compensation for employees’ non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Through third-party liability claims, injured workers are able to pursue compensation for these types of damages, which are not covered by workers’ compensation benefits.

For more information, visit our workers’ compensation – third-party liability page.

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