When a worker is injured on the job, he or she can bring a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation benefits are awarded without the need to prove that your employer’s was at fault. However, in some cases, the injured worker can also bring a third-party claim. “Third-party” refers to an individual or company who is not your employer. A claim can be pursued against a third party who caused you to become injured.
Third-party liability may arise when an individual or entity that is separate from the employer causes the workplace accident. Usually, it is not available against an employee’s supervisor or coworker. Instead, third-party liability may arise out of other common situations, such as drivers who cause car accidents that injure a worker while on the job, the actions or omissions by another company or that company’s employees and manufacturing or design defects.
For example, if a worker is on the road for work, and a drunk truck driver crashes into him, the worker can recover workers’ compensation benefits, but he can also make a claim or file a lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company. Most workers’ compensation payments are minimal, and a worker may not be able to recover enough compensation to fully cover his or her medical expenses and lost income through workers’ compensation alone. Additionally, workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering, mental anguish, or punitive damages. In a third-party claim, the worker would be able to seek damages which are more than whose available to the worker who only makes a workers’ compensation claim.
To have a successful third-party claim it is necessary to prove that the third party is at fault or negligent for your injury. To prove the third party’s negligence, the injured worker will need to prove duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. However, if the worker makes the claim against a product manufacturer, it may be possible to raise a strict liability claim in which the product manufacturer can be held liable just by proving that there was a defect and that it caused the worker’s harm.
When an injured worker claims that a third party negligently caused his or her injury, the company’s insurance carrier may have a subrogation interest in the claim. Subrogation allows for the company to recover the money which they paid out for medical treatment and lost wages. Each state has its own rules regarding subrogation and an employer’s or carrier’s right to recover the benefits that were paid to the employee.
The subrogation interest that can be recovered is usually limited to the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that were paid to the employee. In most cases, if the recovery is for an amount greater than the subrogation interest, the insurance carrier can get reimbursed and pay the remainder to the injured employee.
DID ANOTHER COMPANY’S NEGLIGENCE CAUSE YOUR INJURIES?
Was your injury caused by someone on your jobsite not employed by your company, such as an outside contractor? Were you hurt while using a defective product in your workplace?
If so, you may have a third-party claim, and we can help. Third party claims are separate from workers’ compensation claims. You cannot sue your employer or co-worker for causing your illness or injury – you can only file for workers’ compensation. However, if your injury was caused by someone other than your employer or co-worker, you may have a third party claim.
Third party claims are complex and involve different types of law including workers’ compensation and personal injury. Our law firm has experienced attorneys in both practice areas who are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call our legal professionals if you have been in an industrial or work place accident involving a third party. It’s important to contact us as soon as possible after an accident, because the third party will act quickly to prove that they were not at fault. We will send investigators to recover the evidence before it’s destroyed, dismantled, or otherwise disappears.
HOW DO I START A THIRD-PARTY INJURY CLAIM?
Employees injured while on the job are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover their medical bills and lost income.
Unfortunately, as helpful as these benefits can be, there is no provision to compensate workers for their emotional trauma, loss of independence, or pain and suffering.
However, if an employee’s injuries were caused by the negligence of a third party, he or she may be entitled to collect these damages with a third-party claim or lawsuit. That’s why it’s so important to make a third party claim.
GROUNDS FOR A THIRD-PARTY LAWSUIT
An employee injured by a third party can typically file both a workers’ compensation claim and a separate third-party claim or lawsuit against those responsible for his or her injuries.
Workers’ compensation claims are no-fault—meaning a worker is not required to prove his employer was negligent to receive benefits.
On the other hand, recovering damages via a third-party claim or lawsuit requires the injured worker to provide evidence of the third party’s negligence. To do so, he or she must demonstrate the third party created the circumstances that caused his or her injuries and otherwise, he or she would not have been hurt.
A third-party work injury lawsuit must therefore prove:
The injury victim was involved in a work-related accident
The third party owed him/her a duty of care
The third party failed in this duty of care
He/She was injured
His/Her injuries resulted from the work-related accident
If you were injured in an accident caused by a third party, you must act quickly to protect your right to compensation.
In Texas, the statute of limitations is just two years from the date of employee injury. However, you should take immediate action after your injury and not wait. Your case must be filed in the appropriate Texas court, and comply with numerous legal requirements to be considered valid.
Third party claims are complicated, and they require the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney. To learn more, contact Jim Adler & Associates by using the form on this page.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I’M INJURED AT WORK?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Texas is often times a more complex and tedious process than it should be, and what happens after may directly affect you and your family for a lifetime.
Your employer will do everything in their power to avoid having to pay you when you file for workers’ compensation. And even if they do pay out, it will be far less than you could have received had you contacted a work injury lawyer and explored your options beforehand.
WHAT ARE SOME DIFFERENT TYPES OF WORK INJURIES?
Workplace injuries can be caused by many types of equipment malfunctions or other safety failures due to negligence of employers, contractors, business owners or fellow workers.
As for what are some different types of work injuries, one extremely serious work injury is amputation of a finger, hand, arm, toe, foot or leg. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 10,000 American workers yearly are victims of an amputation injury.
Other severe workplace injuries can include TBI, or traumatic brain injury, as well as spinal cord injury, which can result in paralysis. Such injuries often are permanent and life-changing, which makes their costs far greater.
Workers also may suffer a variety of other workplace injuries, including crushed or mangled limbs, broken bones, burns, electrical shocks, falls and even benzene exposure, which can cause cancers such as leukemia and can be life-threatening.
Construction Injuries Are The Most Common Type of Work Injury
Workers in the construction and industrial arenas are more likely to suffer debilitating injuries, and construction injuries are alarmingly common for Hispanic workers.
Indeed, more and more Hispanic workers are being injured and killed on the job, even though worker deaths overall have dropped, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As it reports, though America’s worker deaths declined by 8 percent during a recent 15-year period, in that same time Hispanic worker deaths increased by almost 80 percent.
Many Hispanic deaths and injuries at work are due to the fact that their employers failed to train Hispanic workers properly. Such negligence by employers can lead to a favorable settlement for Hispanic workers in a workplace injury lawsuit provided by our law firm.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU’RE INJURED AT WORK?
As for what your rights are if you get injured at work, you have a legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer who carries such insurance. You also have a right in some cases to file a work injury lawsuit against a contractor, fellow worker or business owner, or against an employer who doesn’t carry workers’ comp.
This workers’ comp program provides medical benefits and pay to workers who suffer injury or illness due to work. But it also protects employers from civil lawsuits brought by injured workers.
“Can I sue my employer for injury?” you may ask. If your employer has workers’ comp insurance in Texas, you cannot. That can be a problem if your workers’ comp benefits alone aren’t enough to pay for your injury costs.
And this is part of a bigger problem: Since workers’ comp laws first were enacted nationwide in 1917, Texas has been a business-friendly state — at the expense of hard-working Texans.
In fact, Texas is the only state in the nation which allows employers to choose whether or not to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Thus, not all employers in Texas provide workers’ comp insurance, although most do. Employers who don’t provide workers’ comp could, in fact, face a work injury lawsuit.
So to answer your question “Do I get paid if injured at work?”, that depends on if your employer has workers’ comp coverage, or if you have grounds for a lawsuit when an employer does not. It also depends on if you could file a third-party lawsuit against a contractor or someone other than your employer.
CAN A LAWYER HELP ME IF MY EMPLOYER HAS WORKERS COMP?
You may be asking, “Can a lawyer help me even if my employer has workers’ comp?” The answer is: Yes.
While you aren’t required to have an attorney represent you in a Texas workers’ comp claim, you are advised to engage one. And keep in mind that Texas law puts a cap or limit on fees an attorney can charge to represent you in a workers’ comp claim.
Your workers’ comp attorney can help you in many ways, such as ensuring that you meet all deadlines.
How long do you have to sue or make a workers’ comp claim after a work injury? You have just 30 days from the date of your injury or diagnosis of your work illness to notify your employer. In terms of deadlines, if your workers’ comp claim is denied, you also must meet deadlines for an appeal.
Your workers’ comp lawyer also can determine if you should sue a third party for your work injury. Though you cannot sue a Texas employer who has workers’ comp insurance, you can sue contractors, parts suppliers, transportation providers and other third parties whose negligence contributed to your injury on the job.
Your Texas attorney for workers’ comp can fight to gain all payments possible for you. Having an attorney can be vital if your employer disputes the severity of your injury, what medical treatments are covered, your impairment rating, when you should return to work and what your overall benefits should be.
Your workers’ comp lawyer also can fight for you on appeal if your claim is denied, via many stages of dispute resolution.
Different Kinds of Workers’ Comp Benefits
Workers’ comp coverage comes with four different kinds of benefits: income, medical, death and burial.
Income benefits provide part of the wages that a worker loses due to a work-related injury or illness. They also pay for permanent impairment to a worker’s body.
Medical benefits provide payments for reasonable and necessary medical care to treat a work injury or illness.
Death benefits replace part of the missing income for eligible family members of workers who are killed at work.
Burial benefits pay for some of the deceased worker’s funeral costs.
Can you also seek workers compensation benefits for pain and suffering? The answer is no – not from workers’ comp. But if you are able to file a work injury lawsuit, payments for pain and suffering can be included in that claim.
CAN YOU BE TERMINATED WHILE ON WORKERS COMPENSATION?
As for whether you can get fired or lose your job after making a workers’ compensation claim, Texas law says no. According to Texas Labor Code Chapter 451, employers cannot retaliate against an employee for his or her workers’ comp claim.
However, termination of an employee receiving workers’ comp is legal if it’s based on misconduct unrelated to the workers’ comp claim.
HIRE A WORK INJURY LAWYER LIKE US.
As you can see, it can be vital that you get a Texas work injury lawyer to handle your case. Jim Adler & Associates stands ready to guide you through the legal process and help you claim the maximum benefits to which you and your family are legally entitled.
Contact an experienced work injury attorney with our law firm today. We will quickly provide you with a free legal review of your case. Then, if you choose, we can get started helping you claim the work injury benefits that you need and deserve.
If you were injured in a workplace accident as a result of the negligence of others, call our office for a free consultation at 1-800-505-1414 or fill out our free case evaluation form.
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