When an employee is hurt in a work-related accident, the injury could be caused by something other than the employer or workplace.
Sometimes a work-related injury scenario could be caused by a third party liable for the worker’s injuries or sickness.
If a worker is injured because of the actions of a third party, the worker has the option to file an action towards the third party responsible.
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
A workers’ comp claim is designed to provide employees with short-term benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.
The workers’ compensation framework provides hospital expenses and income replacement benefits, though most of these benefits are only available in terms of how long an injured employee 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 employees must ensure that they have completed and submitted the Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease form (DWC Form-041) to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Worker’s Compensation.
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 form should be completed within the one year statute of limitations when filing a worker’s 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.
But sometimes the workplace accident leaves someone other the employer or injured employee at fault.
If the injury has occurred by a third party, such as a vendor, supplier or company, etc., then they should be held accountable for their actions.
Whenever it is a third party’s fault that a worker has been injured, or ended up in a wrongful death, the injured worker or surviving family members have the right to receive compensation from the responsible third party by using a personal injury claim, or wrongful death claim.
A third party liability case can be used supplementary to a workers’ compensation claim if being pursued by the injured employee.
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.
Two years from the discovery of the injury or employee’s death is the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim.
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.
The injured party, or surviving family members, have the options to either file a claim against the liable third party, or attempt to enter a settlement negotiation with the liable third party.
A couple of examples of third party liability workplace accidents that commonly occur are:
- Injuries resulting from a manufacturing defect or defective design of a product or piece of machinery used by the laborer while working;
- An injury as the result of an automobile accidents due to the negligence or intentional actions of a third party, while the employee was on the clock; and
- An injury arising from premises liability issues in the event that the injured employee’s job required them to visit other businesses.
In most instances, a third party liability suit will compensate an injured worker more so than a workers’ compensation claim will.
The reason for this, is that a third party liability suit allows an injured worker to receive compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish and other noneconomic injuries.
Furthermore, an injured employee could make their recovery much larget by being awarded punitive damages if the circumstances are right in a third party liability suit.
An injured worker who is interested in a liable third party claim, should ensure that they talk to their personal injury lawyer about the specific details of their case and the injured worker’s injuries.
A personal injury lawyer can excel in identifying all potential liable parties and strategize on the best possible way to obtain the max amount of compensation available in light of the facts and situations leading up to the injured employee’s injuries.