Workers’ compensation provides certain benefits to employees injured in a workplace accident. You may be entitled to medical benefits which cover the cost of treatment and ongoing care, a portion of your missed wages, disability and death benefits
In many cases, you cannot sue your employer for damages following a workplace accident. However, you can file a personal injury claim against a third party whose negligence led to your accident even after claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
When can this happen?
Third-party liability in workplace accidents can occur in several scenarios. A piece of defective equipment may have caused your accident, or a negligent driver may have crashed into you while you were in the line of duty. A contractor at your workplace may have also been negligent when doing their work.
In all the above instances, you can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party.
Your claim is different from your workers’ compensation
A personal injury claim against a third party is not tied or related to your workers’ compensation claim. For instance, while you do not have to prove fault under workers’ compensation, it is a crucial part of all personal injury claims.
The elements of a personal injury claim must be present for a valid negligence case. The negligent party must have owed you a duty of care that they breached, leading to the accident. There should be a clear link between their actions or inactions and your injuries. Lastly, the injuries sustained must have caused you damages or harm like hospital bills or pain and suffering.
You can recover more damages against a third party
Workers’ compensation benefits are limited. You cannot recover some damages you suffer from a workplace accident like the emotional anguish or the lower quality of life your injuries caused you, but you can with a personal injury claim. There is a wide array of general and special damages that you may be awarded following a successful claim.
Understanding the steps you need to take if a third party contributed to your workplace accident can help protect your rights and ensure you get the settlement you deserve.