After you get hurt on the job, workers’ compensation is usually where you turn. The benefits of workers’ compensation include full medical coverage and disability benefits that will pay at least a portion of the wages you don’t earn while healing.
Fault is inconsequential when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. You don’t have to prove that your employer did anything wrong to qualify for benefits, only that you got hurt on the job. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation isn’t a perfect system. Since it doesn’t fully replace your wages, the benefits you receive may not be enough to cover all of your household costs.
For a small number of workers hurt on the job, a third party may have some liability for the injuries they suffered at work. How can you determine if you could have a third-party claim after a work injury?
Were you hurt because of a defective product or machine?
Whether you work in an office and suffer an electrical shock caused by a printer or you work in an auto repair shop and get hurt when a jack fails, the equipment and machines that help people do their jobs can also sometimes cause risk on the job. The more safety-critical a tool or piece of equipment is, the more concerning its failure becomes.
Tools and machinery can malfunction or break due to defective components. It’s also possible for materials of substandard quality to fail, like the boards on rental scaffolding cracking underneath someone’s weight. When it was a defective product that caused the incident that led to your injury, you could have a claim against the company that made or distributed the item in question.
Did another person cause your injury?
Perhaps you are a security guard in the parking ramp, and a taxi driver ran over you when you approached the rear of their vehicle. Perhaps you went to make a delivery somewhere, only to have an employee at the recipient business make a mistake that left you hurt.
When another person directly causes your injury, especially if they were on the job as well at the time you got hurt, you may potentially have a third-party claim in that situation. Such claims can be a great addition to a standard workers’ compensation filing. A personal injury claim against a third party could help you recover the portion of your wages not covered by workers’ compensation and other costs that have no workers’ compensation coverage.