How To Get Compensation for a Work Injury

  • Author
    Sean M. Cleary
  • Published
    June 8, 2024
  • Word count

If you suffer a workplace injury, you are most likely entitled to workers’ compensation to secure wage loss benefits and compensation for medical care. However, did you know that you can also sue a third party for further damages? You cannot sue your employer after being injured, but you can sue any liable third party. The damages you receive from this lawsuit will supplement your workers’ compensation so that you can comfortably pay for all necessary medical treatment.

That is why it is essential to understand both workers’ compensation and third-party liability as they are interrelated. Mishandling these claims can lead to a loss of benefits. Therefore you need to see how they are different and how they can go hand-in-hand.

How a first-party workers’ compensation claim works

If you were hurt at work, you are entitled to benefits provided by your employer, usually through an insurance company. The benefits typically include reimbursement for medical costs and a portion of the lost earnings resulting from the injury.

Workers’ compensation is no-fault coverage, meaning it does not matter whether your employer is responsible for the accident. If you are injured in the course and scope of employment, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. It’s important to understand that a first-party claim is administered by an insurance company and overseen by a government agency, it’s not a lawsuit against your employer.

However, when your injuries are more severe, you will probably benefit from having a worker’s compensation attorney on your side to make sure you are fairly compensated and fight your employer’s insurance company to get you the best benefits possible.

When can a third party be responsible for the accident?

Although many times workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an on-the-job injury, sometimes accidents also involve a negligent third party. This may happen if the injuries are caused by faulty equipment, lax safety standards, a poorly maintained building, the negligence of a co-worker, or even just by slipping and falling into a puddle of liquid that shouldn’t have been there.

If it’s suspected that a third party is at fault, the employee can claim compensation for a personal injury against the individual or company at fault. A third-party claim and a first-party workers’ compensation claim are pursued separately and simultaneously. The benefits from the workers’ compensation claim can be received immediately while the third-party claim is being litigated.

If you rely on workers’ compensation alone, you can receive compensation for medical treatment, and if your injuries are deemed catastrophic or if you are fully or partially disabled, you can receive a weekly stipend based on a percentage of your average wages.

The most significant shortcomings of a first-party workers’ compensation claim are that they are capped and do not cover non-economic damages or the “pain and suffering” that plaintiffs usually seek in personal injury claims, including:

Third-party claims have a greater measure of damages, including the remaining portion of lost earnings not covered by workers’ compensation. A workers’ compensation claim for $20k might be worth $55k in a third-party claim. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you ask your workers’ compensation attorney whether you also have a third-party claim worth pursuing.

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