What If the Accident Happened On The Job?
Have you recently suffered a workplace injury and are unsure what to do? Did a third party cause your accident while you were on the job? If so, you could have a personal injury case and may be entitled to additional compensation for your work-related accident.
This article will explain what third-party liability is, examples of work injuries caused by a third party, if you can file for workers’ compensation and a third-party claim, and critical steps to take if you have an accident at work.
What Does Third-Party Liability Mean?
Regarding work accidents, “third-party liability” is when your work injury is caused by the negligence of a person or entity outside of your employer.
For instance, if you were traveling for work and were in an accident, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the third-party driver.
Since most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance, you cannot directly sue them for personal injury cases. However, if a third-party individual or company is responsible for the accident, you can file a suit against them.
Examples of Third Party Injuries
Accidents at work happen quite often. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an estimated 1.8 million workers were treated in emergency departments in 2020. Common workplace injuries consist of things like slipping and falling, vehicle-related accidents, muscle strains, and more.
But what is considered third-party liability work injuries? Here are a few examples of what these types of accidents look like:
Getting Injured Due to Faulty Equipment
If you were injured on the job and the cause is from the equipment you use, and you were operating it correctly, then the equipment manufacturer would be the third party liable for your work injury.
For example, let’s say you work in a factory and use a conveyor belt system, and you sustain burn injuries from a fire due to faulty wiring in the machine. You would file for workers’ compensation, but you may be able to file a suit against the manufacturer for faulty equipment.
Accidents caused by defective equipment happen more often than it should. In fact, one of the top ten frequently cited violations by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is faulty and unsafe equipment.
Slipping and Falling Due to Negligence from Warning Signs Not Being Displayed
Another instance would be if you slipped and fell because a cleaning person didn’t have warning signs of a wet floor in place. This is an example of negligence because you could have avoided the accident if you had been warned of the slippery floor.
If the individual works for a company outside of your employer, then they would be liable for your injuries.
Slips, trips, and falls are one of the most common injuries sustained at work. The NSC Injury Facts reported that 211,640 work injuries were related to slips, trips, and falls.
Being in an Auto Accident While Traveling for Work
If you were traveling for work and were involved in an auto accident due to an inattentive driver, this would fall under the third-party liability claim. This is because the driver was negligent and not paying attention while driving and that caused your work-related accident.
If the driver is a delivery driver or working for a company, then you may be able to file against the driver and the company itself. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. There were 680,000 car accidents reported in 2020 due to distracted drivers!
Can I File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation and a Third-Party Liability Case?
It’s essential that you get the financial assistance you need for medical costs and lost wages. However, if you win your lawsuit for your third-party liability case you will have to pay back the money you received from workers’ compensation insurance.
This is because you would be earning money twice for the same case. But, you keep whatever additional compensation you make from your settlement. In most cases, your third-party liability claim will be more than you would be compensated from workers’ compensation.
In the end, you could proceed with your workers’ compensation case to ensure you get the assistance you need and pay it back if you proceed with a third-party liability claim.
It’s best to seek legal counsel to get the settlement you deserve for your work injury.
4 Key Steps to Take if You Have an Accident at Work
What should you do if you have an accident on the job? Whether you have a minor or major workplace injury, taking the following steps is essential.
1. Immediately Report Your Workplace Injury to Your Supervisor
You may be hesitant to report your accident to your supervisor, but you need to report the incident as soon as possible. This way, you can file for workers’ comp and get assistance faster. Even if you have a third-party liability case, reporting the accident promptly is crucial.
The statutes of limitation to file a worker’s comp claim and third-party suit can vary by state, so you risk getting your claim denied if you wait too long to file.
Many employers require that you report a work accident within 30 days. However, you aren’t doing yourself or your employer any favors by waiting. Your employer has to file the claim so you can receive workers’ compensation for your injury. So the sooner you report the accident, the better.
Once you report your workplace injury, your employer will provide you with the paperwork where you will give the details of your accident, including the day, time, location, and injuries sustained.
2. Seek Medical Help
Of course, if you have a major accident at work, you must seek medical assistance immediately. Inform your supervisor of the injury, and they can have you complete your claim after you seek help.
Also, be sure to tell the medical staff you were hurt on the job. That way, it is noted in your medical history and will help you with your worker’s compensation and third party liability claim.
Worker’s compensation can cover ongoing medical care costs if your workplace injury causes long-term effects. If you are disabled because of the injury, you may be compensated for lost wages and medical expenses through disability benefits.
However, it doesn’t cover things such as punitive damages and mental anguish caused by your work injury.
Filing a claim against a third party is essential if they are responsible for your accident. In these situations, you must provide solid proof that the third party’s actions caused your injury. That is why it is key to seek assistance from a personal injury lawyer you can trust!
An attorney can help prove negligence against the third party and assist you through every step of your case.
3. Document Your Case
Another vital step to take when you experience an accident at work is to document your case. Be sure to request a copy of your workers’ compensation claim from your employer, so you have it for your records.
It would be best if you also wrote down everything that happened as soon as possible. Describe what you were doing and how the accident occurred. List any witnesses that saw the incident and what your supervisor advised you to do once you reported your work accident.
Hopefully, your employer will make the process easier, but if your claim is denied or if you have any issues with your employer, it’s good to have the necessary documentation to seek legal help if needed.
Documentation is key to any third-party liability claim as well. You must provide proof of negligence on their part, so having pictures, videos, and records is essential for your case.
4. Seek Out a Personal Injury Attorney
Filing a claim for a work-related accident can get overwhelming. If your case is simple and not complex, you may be able to handle the case on your own. However, you risk losing out on benefits that may be owed to you if you don’t seek out an experienced attorney.
If you are worried about the cost of a personal injury attorney, you may be relieved that we will take your case on a “contingency fee” basis. This means you pay nothing unless we win.
Take Immediate Action if You Have an Accident at Work!
It’s essential that you report your workplace injury immediately to your supervisor. This can prevent your claim from being denied because you waited too long to report it. Remember to keep a record of your case as well.
Although you may represent yourself, you should consider seeking out a personal injury attorney from Hoglund Law to assist you. You may be entitled to additional compensation and have a better chance of getting your claim approved. Click here to get a 100% free initial consultation!