When you sustain an injury while on the job, you usually handle the matter through a workers' compensation claim. Your employer is responsible for your safety at work and therefore financially accountable when an accident causes you bodily harm.
Sometimes, you also have the option of pursuing a regular personal injury lawsuit when a third party is responsible for the accident. Know when this applies to your situation so you can receive maximum damages, as each type of claim comes with specific monetary awards and limits.
Examples of third-party responsibility for workplace accidents
The definition of a third-party claim may be straightforward, but it may not be as easy to recognize. The following are some examples of when someone besides your employer is at fault:
- Another motorist hits you while you are driving on the job (but not to and from work in your own vehicle)
- A public utility company fails to maintain or mark gas and electric lines, causing you injury
- A subcontractor or outside supervisor may be negligent, leading to hazards
- A tool or other product you are using malfunctions and hurts you
- An owner does not maintain property, resulting in a slip, trip or fall accident
- An owner does not keep a pet in control, and the animal bites you
- Your employer or a coworker assaults you
In general, if you are at work and experience an accident due to someone or something not under your employer's duty, then you likely have a personal injury claim. Whether or not you can also receive workers' comp depends on the circumstances.
What to do if you have a third-party claim
As this is a separate claim from workers' comp, you will need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to file a third-party claim. An attorney can also help you with workers' comp to ensure you do not make errors that can complicate your case.