attorney explaining third party liability

Third-Party Liability in Workers’ Compensation Claims

You’re working hard at work when the equipment you’re using malfunctions and results in a serious injury causing you to miss work for a prolonged period of time. What can you do to make ends meet while you’re not working? After all, the accident wasn’t even your fault. 

There are different options for workers who are injured while on the job. Ordinarily, in such a case you would first look to bring a case for workers’ compensation. But what about when the accident was the result of negligence by a third-party? 

A third-party includes anyone aside from your employer. There are various people and entities that could be considered a responsible third-party. 

  • The manufacturer of the equipment that malfunctioned
  • The property owner if you are injured off-site
  • The other driver(s) when you are involved in a car accident
  • Contractors and vendors who fail to properly maintain workplace equipment 
  • Co-workers who directly cause your injury (e.g. assault)

In such a situation, not only may you be able to receive workers’ compensation, but you may also be able to bring a claim against the third party for the injuries and damages you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. 

Filing a Third-Party Claim vs. Workers’ Compensation

It is different to file a third-party claim than it is to apply for workers’ compensation. 

When you are injured at work, you generally apply for workers’ compensation for pain and suffering because you usually are unable to sue your employer. However, there is an exception when an employer either directly injures you (e.g. assaults you) or is grossly negligent. 

However, you are allowed to file a lawsuit against a third-party in order to receive compensation for your damages. If you are successful in this, you can receive more money for your injury. 

Additionally, workers’ compensation is capped depending upon the current rate in Pennsylvania, so you won’t make as much as you would have, had you not been injured. So while your workers’ compensation benefits can help to pay for your medical expenses, you may still find yourself struggling with other debts once you are no longer able to work. 

By suing a liable third-party, it can help to cover your additional bills while receiving workers’ compensation. Filing suit against this third-party can also often help to bring a sense of closure. But unlike workers’ compensation, a claim against a third-party requires proof of fault. This is why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney who can help to explain the necessary evidence, provide you with an appropriate number to which you should be entitled, and walk you through each step of the legal process.

The PA Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

Knowing when to fight back against an insurance company can be difficult – especially when you feel intimidated by it. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that an injury while on the job can have on so many aspects of your life. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!