Third Party Workers’ Compensation Lawsuits: Liability Criteria & What You Need to Know

In certain workers’ compensation cases, third parties may be liable to pay a third party lawsuit settlement.

Employees who are injured in workplace accidents have the right to expect that their employer will cover medical bills and a high percentage of lost wages. However, there is no requirement for an employee to prove that the employer was negligent or caused the accident.

The trade-off for not having to prove employer negligence is that the employee cannot claim damages for pain and suffering. In many cases though, third parties may be liable. 

Workplace Injury Liability Criteria – Where Third-Parties Fit In

Employees generally cannot file a direct claim against their workplaces for negligence.

Even if the employer failed to correct a known danger or failed to follow standard procedures, the employee cannot file a civil lawsuit against the employer. As with all legal matters, there may be exceptions where an employee can sue an employer, but this is usually only done in specific circumstances.

Employers are liable for the worker’s medical expenses for as long as they are unable to work. If a worker needs additional medical care after he/she returns to the job, the employer must pay those expenses too. Workers are also entitled to wage loss benefits while they are unable to work.

If a worker suffers a permanent disability, then the employer must compensate the employee. The length of the payments will vary depending on the nature of the injury.

Workers who suffer an occupational illness are also entitled to wage compensation and payment of their medical bills. The amount of compensation varies depending on the type of work the employee did and how much the worker earned.

To claim pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages, the injured worker must seek a third party lawsuit agreement through an independent personal injury lawsuit.

The Liability Of Third Parties in Workers’ Comp Cases

Third parties can be liable for different reasons that depend on Pennsylvania liability laws and how the accident happened.

Some of the common third-party claims workers can file include:

Product Liability Claims

Manufacturers and sellers of all types of tools, equipment, and machines that employees use during their employment.

For example, if a worker is injured because a forklift malfunctions due to defective brakes or because scaffolding materials used during construction were unstable, the employee can file a product liability claim. In this example, the employer will usually not be liable for a construction accident if it was caused by third-party equipment. 

In these cases, the worker does not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent. He or she can seek a third party lawsuit settlement if the product is defective and the defect caused harm.

Third-Party Lawsuits For Negligence Claims

Any person who causes a workplace injury and is not employed by the employer can be a third party defendant.

  • Architects who design unsafe buildings can be liable for poor quality designs.
  • Snow clean-up crews hired by the employer can be liable if a worker falls.
  • Property owners can be liable if a worker is injured while visiting their site – for example, when a salesperson visits a client.
  • Contractors and subcontractors may be liable for third party workers compensation claims; especially in the construction industry.
  • Companies that service equipment may be liable for failing to maintain the equipment or failing to take it out of service.
  • Many workers are injured by non-employee drivers.

Breach Of Warranty Claims

Makers of products generally warrant that the products they sell will be safe for their intended use.

Damages for Third Party Workers Compensation Lawsuits

Unlike workers compensation claims, third-party lawsuits allow the worker to demand damages for the worker’s pain and suffering. Workers can demand all the lost wages that weren’t paid through the worker’s compensation case.

Workers can file both a workers compensation claim and a third party claim. The good news for the worker is that the worker should receive wage loss benefits and get the medical care needed while the personal injury lawsuit is pending.

The Right of Subrogation Under Third Party Liability Laws

In addition to the employee’s claims, employers can make their own demand in a third party lawsuit.

They can demand that the third party reimburse them for all of the funds they paid to the employee. This typically includes all the wages they paid the worker and all the medical bills they paid for the employee.

Experienced third-party workers compensation lawyers can explain who can claim damages and how the employer is reimbursed.

Contact Us Today To Discuss Your Third Part Worker’s Comp Lawsuit

The worker’s compensation lawyers at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo have been fighting for injured workers for more than 80 years. We review every aspect of your case including your right to seek a third party workers compensation settlement.

To schedule an appointment, call us now at (844) 243-4836. Consultations are free.

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