California Third-Party Workers’ Comp. Claims and Work Injury Claims
Typically, injured workers who receive workers’ compensation benefits cannot pursue legal action against their employer for causing a workplace accident. This being said, there are scenarios in which an injured employee may file a lawsuit against a third party that was liable for the accident that caused their injury. These claims are referred to as third-party worker’s comp claims.
By pursuing legal action against a third party, an injured worker can pursue additional compensation to the amount they were rewarded through worker’s compensation benefits. For injured workers, pursuing a third-party workers’ comp claim can be a great strategy for receiving fair compensation for all the damages they incurred from their accident. If you are wondering if you are eligible to pursue a third-party workers’ comp claim, it can be helpful to speak with a skilled workplace compensation attorney. Here is some essential information to know about third-party workers’ comp claims in California.
What to Know About Third-Party Workers’ Compensation Claims
Employees who are injured in workplace accidents are eligible for certain benefits, such as medical care and replacement of lost income. However, these benefits can be limiting, preventing employees from receiving the compensation they deserve for their accident-related damages.
Filing a third-party claim is a way for injured workers to pursue additional compensation beyond the expenses covered by standard workers’ compensation benefits. Some of the damages you can pursue through a third-party claim include:
- Emotional distress and suffering. Depending on the situation, a workplace accident can cause immense emotional pain. However, workers’ compensation does not provide compensation for the emotional effects caused by a serious workplace injury. By filing a third-party claim, workers can be compensated for their emotional losses.
- Lost income and earning capacity. In the case an injury causes a worker to become disabled, standard workers’ compensation benefits only cover two-thirds of their average weekly income. Additionally, these benefits are subject to caps set by the state. Filing a third-party claim is the best way to receive a financial settlement that is suitable for the full extent of your lost income and earning capacity.
- Medical expenses. In order to receive standard workers’ comp medical coverage, you are required to see a doctor selected by your employer. However, when you file a third-party claim, you can pursue compensation for both current and future accident-related medical expenses.
- Wrongful death. If a workplace accident caused an employee to pass away, surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to receive more compensation than provided through standard workers’ compensation death benefits.
It is essential to note that you can collect workers’ compensation benefits at the same time you are pursuing a third-party claim. However, if you end up receiving a settlement through your lawsuit, you will have to pay back your worker’s compensation benefits. Working with an attorney is the best way to reduce the amount you will have to pay back.
What Is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Claims?
The distinguishing factor between workers’ compensation and third-party claims is that workers’ compensation is considered “no-fault” insurance, meaning injured workers do not need to prove fault to collect benefits. The only proof you need to collect workers’ compensation benefits is that you were injured on the job.
In contrast, to receive compensation through a third-party claim, you will need to establish that the third party acted with negligence, which directly resulted in your injuries. Some other conditions you will need to establish to pursue a third-party claim include:
- The accident was caused by a party that was not an employer or co-worker
- The other party’s negligence caused the accident
- You sustained injuries that were directly caused by the workplace accident
Who Are Considered Third-Parties?
There are a variety of parties besides your employer or coworkers that can be held accountable for a workplace accident. Some of these third parties include:
- Manufacturers. If your accident was caused by a machine or equipment failure, the manufacturers of the parts can be held accountable and liable for your injuries.
- Property owners. If your accident was caused due to the failure of a property owner to maintain the safety of the property, they can be held accountable for your injuries.
- Contractors. If your supervisor is a contractor instead of a full-time employee and failed to properly oversee the activities in your workplace, they can be held accountable.
These are just a few third parties that can be held responsible for workplace accidents. When you work with a trusted workplace compensation lawyer, they can look at all the factors surrounding your accident and determine if there are third parties that can be held liable for your accident.
Contact an Experienced Workplace Compensation Lawyer for Assistance with a Third-Party Claim
Experiencing a workplace accident can be traumatic. If you suspect that third parties were at play in your accident, it’s important to see if you have the grounds for a third-party workers’ compensation claim. At the KCNS Law Group, we specialize in all areas of worker’s compensation and personal injury. Our skilled team of attorneys has over 40 years of combined experience in representing workplace claims. Our approach is distinguished by our personalized approach and commitment to providing a tailored, individualized strategy for every case.
If you have been the victim of negligence by a third party at your workplace, please contact us today at (877) 513-9007 or fill out our online contact form.
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