When an employee is hurt in a work-related accident, the injury could be caused by something other than the employer or workplace. In some work-related injury situations it may not be the employer’s responsibility, but instead a third-party liability. If a worker is injured because of the actions of a third party, the worker has the option to file an action towards the third party responsible. In regards to what they do for injured workers, a third party liability personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim do completely different things.
Workers’ Compensation Claim
A workers’ comp claim is designed to provide employees with short-term benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses. The workers’ compensation framework provides hospital expenses and income replacement benefits, though most of these benefits are only available in terms of how long an injured employee may claim them. For instance, an injured worker could still be suffering from a work-related injury due to a liable third party, even after they have received workers’ compensation benefits for a few years. The following form should be filed out for someone who needs workers’ compensation benefits at the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Injured workers are required to complete and submit to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Worker’s Compensation the Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease form (DWC Form-041). The form should be completed within the one year statute of limitations when filing a worker’s compensation claim. The Beneficiary Claim for Death Benefits must be completed and submitted to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation by the surviving family members. The form should be completed within the one year statute of limitations when filing a worker’s compensation claim.
As an overall rule, the workers’ compensation framework is available to any injured employee no matter the fault, unless the worker was intoxicated, willful criminal conduct was involved, or another similar exception. Usually, a worker injured in the work place where the fault is placed by co-workers are covered by the workers’ compensation framework. In some situations the responsibility of a workplace accident lies with someone outside of the employer or injured employee. If the injury has occurred by a third party, such as a vendor, supplier or company, etc., then they should be held accountable for their actions. If a third party is the one liable for causing an employee’s injury, or in some situations, the case of a wrongful death, then the injured worker or surviving family members, are able to seek compensation through a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim from the responsible third party. Third party liability cases can be supplementary to a workers’ comp claim when being pursued by the injured work.
Following the same procedures and statute of limitations, a third party liability suit is very much like any other personal injury or wrongful deaths suit. The statute of limitations is two years after the date of the injury or death of the employee for a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim. For long term injuries and future medical care, a third party liability suit can still be useful in an attempt to obtain financial compensation. The injured party, or surviving family members, have the options to either file a claim against the liable third party, or attempt to enter a settlement negotiation with the liable third party. A couple of examples of third party liability workplace accidents that commonly occur are:
- An injury occurring from a defective design or manufacturing defect of a specific product that the employee used on the job;
- An injury as the result of an automobile accidents due to the negligence or intentional actions of a third party, while the employee was on the clock; and
- If it is part of the employee’s work to visit another business and an injury arises from premises liability issues.
In fact, a third party liability suit could result in an injured employee receiving more compensation than he would from a workers’ compensation claim. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, an injured employee can obtain compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other such noneconomic injuries the stem from the work-related injury under a third party liability suit. Furthermore, an injured employee could make their recovery much larger by being awarded punitive damages if the circumstances are right in a third party liability suit.
Injured employees that are deciding on pursuing a liable third party should discuss their situation with a personal injury lawyer about the details of their case and injuries. A personal injury attorney can help identify all of the liable parties, as well as, help figure out how the best way to receive the maximum amount of compensation for your specific situation leading up your injuries.