Sometimes an employee might suffer an injury or ailment at work and the injury or ailment might not be the employer’s fault.
In some work-related injury situations it may not be the employer’s responsibility, but instead a third-party liability.
When an injured employee has a work-related injury or ailment due to third party actions, he could pursue a third party liability action against the third party.
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
The workers’ compensation framework is meant to give temporary benefits to injured employees for a work-related injury or illness.
A workers’ compensation claim is used to provide medical expenses and income replacement benefits, these benefits are limited in regards to how long an injured worker may claim them.
For example, an injured employee could be out of workers’ compensation benefits after a couple of years, but they may still be hurting from a work-related injury that was caused by a responsible third party.
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must fill out the following forms with 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).
When filing a worker’s compensation claim, this form is required to be completed within the one year statute of limitations.
If they are eligible, surviving family members must complete and submit the Beneficiary Claim for Death Benefits form (DWC Form-042) to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation.
The one year statute of limitations must be taken account for when filing a workers’ 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.
Though there are times where an accident on the job has occurred due to someone that isn’t the employer or employee.
If a third party has been involved in causing an injury, such as a supplier, vendor or company, etc., they should be held responsible for their actions.
In the event that a third party is responsible for causing an employee’s injury, or in some cases, a wrongful death, then the injured employee or surviving family members, can seek compensation from the accountable third party with a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim.
Third party liability cases can be supplementary to a workers’ comp claim when being pursued by the injured work.
A third party liability suit is just like a personal injury or wrongful death suit, in fact, it also follows the same procedure and statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims or wrongful death claims is defined as two years from the original date of the injury or death of the worker.
A third party liability suit can still be useful for an injured employee to acquire financial compensation for their long term injuries and future hospital care.
An injured work, or surviving family members, have two options: enter into settlement negotiations with the liable party or file their claim against the liable third party.
Typical third party liability accidents include:
- Injuries resulting from a manufacturing defect or defective design of a product or piece of machinery used by the laborer while working;
- An injury occurring from an automobile accident that happened while the worker was on the clock due to the negligence or intentional actions of a third party; and
- An injury occurring due to another business from premises liability issues, if it the injured worker’s job to visit other businesses.
Additionally, a third party liability suit typically provides the injured worker with more compensation than what a workers’ compensation claim would give.
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.
Making the recovery for the injured employee that much larger, punitive damages are also available to be awarded with the right circumstances in a third party liability suit.
If an injured employee wants to pursue a liable third party, they should make sure that they consult with a personal injury lawyer about the details of their case and their injuries.
A personal injury attorney is able to effectively identify all of the potential liable parties, and help ensure that a strategy is made to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to the injured employee in light of the facts and circumstances leading up to the injuries.