Chapter 14: What is Third-Party Liability in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The short version: When a third-party (NOT your employer) causes your injury while you are in the course of employment (e.g., delivery driver is rear ended by another driver (a “third-party”)). You have BOTH (1) a workers’ comp claim and (2) a traditional claim against the at fault driver (a “third-party” claim). There are specific steps that an experienced attorney will take to maximize your recovery from BOTH claims. These are often referred to as Auto-Comp claims if a motor vehicle collision is involved.
The long version: The Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault system. Employees do not need to prove that an employer was at fault for causing an injury to receive compensation for a claim. However, employees are not permitted to sue employers for workplace accidents and injuries except in very limited cases, such as an employer intentionally harming an employee.
One of the disadvantages of the Workers’ Compensation system is that injured employees are not compensated fully for all damages. For example, employees are not entitled to full compensation for all lost wages. Employees are also not entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering. Statutory guidelines also limit the compensation for future damages and permanent impairments in a workers’ comp claim.
However, if a third party is responsible for causing the accident that resulted in a workplace injury, the employee may have a third-party claim against that person or entity. For example, if an employee is driving to a client’s office and is involved in a car accident (Auto-Comp), the employee may be entitled to compensation from the other driver if the other driver was at fault for causing the wreck. Another example is an employee injured by a defective product at work. The employee may have a third-party claim against the product’s manufacturer under Maryland’s product liability laws.
How Can A Third Party Claim Benefit an Employee?
Because workers’ compensation laws do not limit compensation for a third-party claim, an employee may receive full compensation for all lost wages, permanent disabilities, and future damages. The employee may also receive compensation for the physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional stress caused by the accident. For a family who loses a loved one in a workers’ comp accident, a wrongful death lawsuit against a third party could greatly increase the compensation the family receives for the loss of their family member.
A third-party claim is separate from a workers’ compensation claim. You can file and receive workers’ comp benefits and still pursue a third party claim against a negligent party. If you believe another party may be responsible for your workplace injury, it is worth exploring a third-party claim with a member of the Pinder Plotkin legal team. Injuries at work can result in substantial financial losses for victims. In addition, the pain and suffering caused by a workplace injury can be almost unbearable. You deserve to receive full compensation for all damages, if compensation is available.
Call 410-661-9440 to schedule a free consultation with a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer.
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