If you were injured at work, you might wonder if you can still file a personal injury claim while receiving workers' compensation benefits. The answer is: it depends.
While workers' compensation protects employers from being sued by their employees for workplace injuries, if your injury was caused by a third party (someone other than your employer or coworker), you may be able to file a personal injury claim against that third party.
What is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation is an insurance system that provides benefits to employees injured or who become ill due to their job. Benefits can include medical expenses, income replacement, and death benefits. Workers' compensation is typically mandatory in most jurisdictions, meaning employers must provide coverage for their employees.
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that an injured worker does not have to prove that their employer was at fault for their injury to receive benefits. By design, however, the workers' compensation system also bars the employee from suing the employer outside of the Worker’s Compensation system.
To receive compensation beyond workers' compensation benefits, one may find success through a third-party claim.
Filing a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim
A third party is someone other than your employer or coworker who may have caused your workplace injury. This could be:
- A manufacturer of a defective product that you were using at work.
- The owner of the property where you were working.
- A driver who hit you while you were working.
If your injury was caused by someone other than your employer or coworker, you might have a claim against that third party.
The 4 Elements Needed to Prove a Personal Injury Claim
To have a successful claim, you must prove that the other party was negligent and that their negligence led to your injury. There are four elements that you will need to prove a third-party claim:
- Presence of Duty - You must prove that the other party owed you a duty of care. This means that they had a responsibility to keep you safe from harm (whether the third party is a product manufacturer or an individual driving a car).
- Breach of Duty - Next, you must show that the third party breached their duty of care (that they did not do what a reasonable person would have done to keep you safe and neglected their duty).
- Causation - You will need to show that the other party's breach of the duty of care led to your injury.
- Damages - You will have to show that you suffered some type of loss because of your injury. This could include medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
If you can prove all four of these elements, then you may have grounds for a successful third-party workers' compensation claim.
Were You Injured While On The Job?
Obenshain Law Group has experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including third-party cases stemming from workers' compensation claims. We understand the complex laws and regulations surrounding these types of claims, and we know how to build a solid case to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you were involved in a workplace accident that resulted in serious injury, contact us today at (540) 318-7360 to schedule a free consultation.