What is a Third-Party Lawsuit?
According to the Department of Labor, construction sites are among the most dangerous workplaces in the U.S. Extensive safety regulations exist to help reduce the risk of injury for workers on these sites. When an accident occurs, an injured worker is often entitled to worker’s compensation benefits to pay medical bills, replace a portion of lost wages, and meet other needs.
But what happens if you are injured by the wrongdoing of someone else? Not by your own carelessness or that of a co-worker or your employer, but the negligence of a motorist, passerby, or the employee of another subcontractor on the site? Or what if you are injured by a company that is not your employer—the company that manufactured a dangerously defective tool or piece of equipment that harmed you?
These cases are known as “third-party negligence” or “third-party liability” cases, because they involve the negligence of a party other than you (the first party) or your employer and co-workers (the second party). In these cases, you may be able to seek damages from the third party to compensate you for your losses, in addition to any benefits you receive from worker’s compensation.
Common Types of Worker’s Compensation Third-Party Negligence Claims
Third party negligence can cause harm on a construction site or in another workplace setting in any number of ways. From more than 25 years of handling workplace injury claims, here are some of the most common types of third-party negligence our attorneys have handled:
- Third-Party Vehicle Accidents. Whether or not you work in road construction, it is possible to be injured by a negligent driver while you are on the job. Workers in construction zones face this risk, but so does anyone who must be on or near public streets to carry out their job duties, such as making deliveries or running work-related errands, for example. If another person caused a traffic accident that injured you while you were on the job, talk to an experienced lawyer today to determine all your options for recovering compensation.
- Subcontractor Negligence. Today’s construction sites, and increasingly, other types of workplaces as well, are not occupied solely by employees of a single company. Due to subcontracting, workers from several employers may work side-by-side. When a worker from another company negligently fails to follow safety precautions in a way that causes you harm, you may have a third-party claim against the subcontractor in addition to a worker’s compensation claim.
- Defective Products. Construction and other types of work involve the use of a great deal of specialized equipment, tools and materials. The manufacturers, designers and distributors of these products have a responsibility to ensure that they are reasonably safe for their intended use. If they cannot be made reasonably safe and still do their job, the products must come with warnings to let the user know of the hidden risks so that he or she can take care to avoid them. If a product is manufactured or designed in a way that poses a hidden danger, or if it does not come with adequate warnings, anyone injured by that product may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer, designer, or distributor.
What to Do if You are Injured on the Job
Third-party negligence can result in serious injuries. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, electrocution, broken bones, and other catastrophic harm can occur when another party’s negligence causes an accident. If you’re injured on the job, it is important to take steps to protect your health and your legal rights, including:
- Get medical attention. If the injuries are severe, it’s important to call 911 or have someone else make the call, so that you get help promptly. If you haven’t seen a doctor yet, make it your first priority to do so. Your doctor will help establish the extent of your injuries and can put you on the road to recovery more quickly.
- Notify your employer. Let your employer know what happened as soon as you can. A brief description of the date, time, and what happened to cause your injury is usually enough. This notification starts the worker’s compensation process. The sooner you notify your employer, the sooner you will receive benefits (or hear about any dispute your employer or the worker’s compensation insurer wants to raise).
- Keep all your doctor appointments. You can improve your chances of reaching maximum improvement by following your doctor’s instructions. Go to all your follow-up appointments, as well as appointments with any specialists. If you must miss an appointment because you are in too much pain, tell the office that when you call to cancel. If you are prescribed medication or medical devices like splints, casts, or crutches, follow the instructions for using these as closely as you can. By doing so, you help your doctors create the fullest possible picture of your injuries and the limitations you may face once you are fully healed. You also help give yourself the best possible chance at recovery.
- Talk to a lawyer. Choose a law firm with experience handling third-party worker’s compensation claims, where you feel comfortable speaking to the attorney who will work with you on your case. If you can, bring any paperwork you have that relates to your case when you meet with your lawyer. Items like medical bills, accident reports, police reports, and pay stubs may help your attorney calculate the full extent of your losses and prepare to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Compassionate Representation That Gets Results
The compassionate attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin are ready to fully investigate the circumstances of your injury and determine whether you may have a claim against someone other than your employer. We have the resources and experience necessary to pursue all potential sources of recovery on your behalf. We take pride in treating our clients like family, and we work hard to get results for them.