When employees suffer injuries on the job, workers' compensation provides them the necessary financial support they need while recovering from their injuries. That same system is also designed to protect employers from liability for negligent acts. Without workers' compensation insurance, companies would have to endure a litany of lawsuits filed by their employees.
While rare and difficult to prove, job-related injury cases where accidents were foreseeable or an employer's negligence was reckless, wanton or intentional may go beyond the workers' comp claims process. More legal matters where workers compensation and personal injury claims intersect involve accidents caused by third parties.
Third-party injury lawsuits involve the negligent acts of a separate individual or company that caused an accident that left workers seriously injured. Examples include:
- A motor vehicle operator colliding with an employee driving a company vehicle
- A negligent sub-contractor injuring employees on a construction site
- A manufacturer of defective heavy machinery or tools causing serious accidents
- Dangerous conditions on property not owned by the employer where a worker falls
When a third party issued for work injuries, a workers' compensation hearing officer does not make the final decisions. Like any personal injury case, the two options towards resolution are settlements or trials. Should a case go to litigation, juries who are likely more sympathetic to the worker render the verdicts?
Simultaneous workers' compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits are complex and require an attorney skilled in both areas of the law. Cases take more time to resolve, whether that involves a settlement or trial.