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Who is to Blame in a Work Accident?

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August 23rd, 2020
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Asking who is to blame in a work accident may seem like an odd question. The state workers’ compensation system exists to compensate employees who are hurt in the course of their employment while on the job. But there are times when on the job accidents are the fault of third parties who could be required to pay damages for workplace injuries.

Knowing who else may be liable for your on the job injuries is important. While you cannot typically sue your employer when hurt at work, you may have a claim against a negligent third-party. Workers’ compensation law is complicated, and the potential of other negligent parties adds to the complexity. That’s why you need to consult with an attorney with Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC. Our experienced workplace injury lawyers will listen to your circumstances and determine who could be liable for your damages.

Contact us at (313) 462-7979 to discuss your claim today. Don’t delay. The quicker you consult with us, the faster you can get your life back after being hurt on the job.

Third-Party Liability

If you’re on the job and trip over a box while taking product back to the storage room resulting in a broken leg, that is the sort of claim that will likely be handled by the workers’ comp system. You will not have an option to sue your employer for any possible negligence. But what if a vendor delivered the box earlier in the day and despite its contractual duty to put the box in the storage room, it was left in the walkway? The vendor is a potential “third-party” that could be open to a negligence claim.

You may wonder why it matters. If workers’ compensation covers the incident, why bother. It matters because workers’ comp may not fully compensate you for your injuries. For example, when you are off due to a workers’ comp claim, you do not receive your full wages. Should you have a personal injury case outside of the workers’ comp system, you might get all your lost wages, plus complete physical and psychological compensation.

“Third party liability” could arise when someone outside of your employer, like the vendor described in the example above, was responsible for your injuries due to their own negligence, recklessness, or unreasonable behavior. By working with our law firm, we will help gather evidence of how the individual or company should have acted and show it owed you a duty of care. Sometimes it is easier to prove than others. For example, if a delivery truck driver from another business is speeding in your company’s parking lot and hits you while you are unloading freight. Other times it may take more investigation, such as a hidden manufacturing defect in your office chair that caused it to collapse and you broke a wrist catching yourself.

Remember, being off work for an extended time with a job-related injury can be a huge financial burden. Most workers’ compensation benefit payments for lost wages are for a percentage of what you normally make. Usually medical expenses are paid unless your employer successfully argues some of them shouldn’t be because the condition was pre-existing. Consider as well that workers’ comp coverage is limited to lost wages and medical bills. A third-party claim could compensate you for pain and suffering.

Who Might Have Third-Party Liability?

Some common third parties sued for workplace injuries include:

  • Contractors
  • Coworkers
  • Drivers
  • Manufacturers/Designers
  • Vendors/Clients

Here is some typical third-party liability for work injury examples that illustrate how important it is that you discuss the circumstances of your workplace accident with Davis Injury Lawyers:

  1. A road construction worker is hit by an intoxicated, distracted, or reckless driver. The injured worker is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, but also could have a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. Keep in mind, too, if the negligent driver was on the job and working in the course of his employment, you may have a claim against the driver’s employer as well.
  2. An employee stocking shelves on a ladder falls and is seriously injured. The ladder could have a manufacturing or design defect that might result in a third-party liability claim.
  3. A worker visiting a client becomes very ill because of exposure to toxic chemicals. Or a worker suffers harm because of tripping hazards, or defective equipment supplied by clients or vendors.
  4. If an employee is harmed during a fight with a co-worker, a third-party claim could exist. Personal injury resulting from the willful or gross negligence such as by assault or other intentional bad acts of fellow workers can lead to a claim outside the workers’ comp system.
  5. Contractors on your company’s property could be responsible for injuries that result from tripping, slipping, and falling objects and exposure to hazardous materials.

We Can Help Get You Compensated for Work-related Injuries

If you’ve been hurt on the job, you may be overwhelmed. You must work on getting better and juggling bills while receiving only partial wages from workers’ compensation. But depending on the circumstances of your accident, third-party liability for your work injury could be available to fully compensate you for your damages. Our experienced work injury team understands all the various third parties that could be responsible for your injury.

Give Davis Injury Lawyers a call at (313) 462-7979 if you’ve been hurt at work. We can help.