Understanding Workers' Compensation vs. Third-Party Claims

Injured middle aged man speaking to an attorney

If you've been injured on the job in Nassau County, you may find yourself trying to understand whether to pursue a workers' compensation claim or a third-party claim. Is there an option to do both? This can be an incredibly confusing process filled with complex legal issues and language – and it's important to understand the differences so that you can make the best decision for your unique situation.

In this blog post, we'll break down what makes each of these claims different and explore some common scenarios in which filing a third-party claim may be appropriate.

Key Differences Between Workers' Compensation and Third-Party Claims?

Workers' compensation and third-party claims are two different ways of seeking damages after an accident. If an employee is injured on the job, they can file a workers' compensation claim and receive benefits from the insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident. These benefits can include medical expenses, income replacement, and death benefits.

Third-party claims are filed against someone other than the employer or fellow employees. For example, suppose you work as a delivery driver. If you are injured in a car accident while driving for work, and another driver causes the accident, you may be able to file a third-party claim against that driver. Third-party claims can also be filed for other types of accidents, such as slip and falls or product liability cases.

The key difference between workers' compensation and third-party claims is that workers' compensation is an exclusive remedy. This means that if you receive workers' compensation benefits, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer or fellow employees for your injuries. Third-party claims are not exclusive, so you may be able to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries and seek compensation beyond that which can be sought in a workers' compensation claim.

When Is It Appropriate to File a Third-Party Claim After a Workplace Injury?

Third-party claims are filed against individuals or companies who bear some responsibility for your accident but are not affiliated with your employer. For example, if you are injured by malfunctioning equipment, you may need to file a third-party claim against the equipment manufacturer.

Examples of workplace accidents that may result in third-party lawsuits:

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Animal attacks
  • Defective equipment and products
  • Inadequate security issues
  • Unsafe premises
  • Construction-related accidents
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals

Filing a third-party claim may be necessary to receive full compensation for your injuries and the associated expenses. Workers' compensation is relatively limited and may not cover all the costs of your injury, especially if your injuries are significant or result in a permanent disability or chronic pain (for example, with workers' comp benefits, you will likely only receive a portion of your lost wages and nothing for pain and suffering).

Consult with an Attorney If You Are Considering Filing a Third-Party Claim

Filing a third-party claim can be complex, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. Third-party claims can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is important to make sure that you have a good case before filing suit. An attorney will be able to determine the best legal option for you and assist in navigating the complexities of filing a third-party claim.

At Foley Griffin, we have been advocating for injured workers in third-party claims since 1997. With 25 years of experience behind us, we have the skill, experience, and knowledge to see you through the entire process. From identifying liable parties to helping you make important legal decisions, the team at Foley Griffin is here to help.

To discuss your options for filing a third-party lawsuit after a workplace injury, contact us online.

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