If you’ve been injured at work and you have started the process of seeking workers’ compensation, you may have heard the term “third-party claim” thrown around. While a third-party claim is not always an option after a workplace injury, when it is, it can significantly increase the amount of compensation you may receive.
It all starts with choosing the right lawyer for your claim. Get started now by contacting The Dodd Law Firm at 203-272-1883.
What is the Difference Between a Workers’ Comp Claim and a Third-Party Claim?
While both of these types of compensation aim to make you whole after a workplace accident, they are different in several key ways. Workers’ compensation is a type of protection offered to employees who are injured at work, regardless of who is at fault.
It’s essentially a deal between the workers and the company—it protects companies from personal injury claims and ensures that employees receive some form of compensation without having to prove someone else’s negligence. Part of this trade-off is that your compensation is limited. Employees are generally entitled to up to 75% of their average weekly wage and coverage of their medical expenses.
Third-party claims are personal injury claims against someone who is not your employer or anyone who is employed by the company you work for. Like any other personal injury claim, you must prove the other party’s negligence and their role in your injuries.
Knowing If You Can File a Third-Party Claim
Everything depends on who is responsible for your injury. Consider, for example, a conventional office job. One of your coworkers drops a printer on your foot while trying to move it into their office. It shatters several of your foot bones and leaves you off work for weeks, during which you collect workers’ compensation. Since the person responsible for your injuries is a coworker, you cannot bring a personal injury claim against them, no matter how obvious their negligence may be.
Consider another example. You have a sales job that involves driving from client site to client site. One day while traveling between sites, you get T-boned by a negligent driver who was texting while driving. This person does not work for your company but is obviously responsible for your accident. In this situation, you would have a third-party claim.
Some of the parties commonly involved in third-party claims include;
- Drivers who hit you while you are driving and performing work duties
- A contractor, subcontractor, or freelancer on a job site
- The party who owns the property where you are injured, assuming that your employer does not own it
- The manufacturer of a product that caused your workplace injury
Where Should You Start?
You should generally start with workers’ compensation. The waiting period is much shorter and doesn’t require that you prove negligence, so you can start getting treatment and partial income replacement right away. You can then start the process of a personal injury claim, which may give you the chance to recover more compensation.
Keep in mind that any benefits you receive from workers’ compensation will need to be repaid if your third-party claim is successful. That money is generally repaid from your settlement or court award before you get your portion.
Using an Attorney is the Best Way to Protect Yourself
A workplace injury can leave you stressed and overwhelmed, but you should still move quickly to explore your options. You generally only have a limited time frame to file a personal injury claim, and evidence has a short shelf life. If you don’t gather evidence right away after an injury, you’ll likely lose it forever. If you consult a workers’ compensation attorney, they will be able to look at the details of your case and figure out whether or not a third-party claim is an option for you.
Contact The Dodd Law Firm to Explore Your Legal Options
We’re here to help you as you begin the process of recovering from a workplace injury. Set up a time to talk to our team now by reaching out online or calling us at 203-272-1883. Whether you have a straightforward workers’ compensation claim or a third-party claim, we will be by your side the entire time.