Third-Party Claims and Defendants in Workplace Injuries
Last week’s blog addressed the increase in workplace injuries. While worker’s compensation is generally the exclusive recovery source from the employer, there are other potential sources of recovery. Below are some common scenarios from workplace injuries that may result in your ability to recover for your injuries.
Motor Vehicle Accidents/Car Wrecks:
A very common type of third-party claim arising from a workers’ compensation action is when someone gets into a motor vehicle accident or car wreck while driving for work. Many people drive as part of their jobs: truck drivers, package delivery personnel, salespeople who make on-site client visits, construction workers who haul materials, home health workers, even lawyers who have to drive to and from court.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving as part of your job, you may be able to sue the other driver in a third-party lawsuit if the accident was not your fault. In other words, you could collect your workers’ compensation as discussed in the prior blog but you could also bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party for damages not covered by workers’ compensation like pain and suffering, mental anguish, future lost wages, damage to your vehicle (if you owned the vehicle that you were driving at the time of the accident) and other non-economic damages.
Product Liability Claims:
Defective products are everywhere, including in your workplace. There are many different kinds of defective product cases but the claims typically fall into three categories: (1) defective manufacture; (2) defective design; or (3) failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed while using a particular product, you may be able to sue the product manufacturer for a defective product. The type of damages available would be similar to those available in a car wreck case but could also include punitive damages in certain circumstances.
Slips, Falls, and Other Injuries That Happen on Someone Else’s Property:
When you are working on someone else’s property and are injured, you may be able to sue the building owner or property manager in addition to collecting your workers’ compensation. Some examples of dangerous conditions that could give rise to liability are broken stairways and uneven flooring. If your injury was caused by a major defect in a property not owned or managed by your employer, you may be able to bring a third-party lawsuit for things workers’ compensation doesn’t pay for.
Injuries to Subcontractors Working on Construction Sites:
Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to work. If you’re injured on a construction site while working for a subcontractor, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the general contractor or the property owner. General Contractors are usually responsible for maintaining a safe environment for everyone working on a construction site, including the sub-contractors.