Third Party Work-Related Injuries
Getting injured at work can be a stressful and confusing time. You may be unsure if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits or if you need to take legal action against another party. This guide will explain what to do if your work injury was caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer.
A work injury can feel overwhelming and exhausting, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Call Mottaz & Sisk Injury and Work Compensation Lawyers at 763-421-8226 today for the help and support you need.
Determining Fault in a Work Injury
The first step is to determine who is at fault for your injury at work. There are a few potential scenarios:
Injury Caused by Employer Negligence
If your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence, such as unsafe working conditions, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp provides benefits like medical treatment and lost wages.
Injury Caused by a Third Party
A third party is someone other than your employer who may be liable. Examples include:
A delivery driver who injured you in a truck accident
A defective product that malfunctioned and caused injury
A negligent subcontractor working on the same site
If a third party caused your injury, you may have a personal injury claim against them.
Injury With Shared Blame
Sometimes your employer and a third party are both partially at fault. For example, your employer didn’t address a safety hazard and a subcontractor’s negligence made it worse. In these cases, you can pursue both workers’ comp and a third-party claim.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Regardless of who’s at fault, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer to cover medical expenses, lost income, and rehabilitation costs.
Benefits provided by workers’ comp include:
Coverage of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment
Temporary total disability benefits if you’re off work during recovery
Permanent partial or total disability benefits if you’re left with permanent impairment
Vocational rehabilitation to help you return to work
Death benefits for dependents if the injury was fatal
These benefits are provided on a no-fault basis. Your receipt of workers’ comp is not contingent on proving your employer was negligent.
Pursuing a Claim Against a Third Party
While workers’ comp covers your losses, it does not compensate for pain and suffering or hold the responsible party accountable. If a third party caused your injury, you can pursue a liability claim against them.
Time Limit to File a Third Party Claim
Under Minnesota law, you must file your third party claim within six years from the date of injury. However, it’s wise to act quickly to preserve evidence and witness testimony.
Types of Damages Available
In a third party injury claim, you can seek damages like:
Lost income and benefits
Cost of ongoing care and rehabilitation
Pain, suffering, and emotional distress
Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages in cases of egregious negligence
This allows for fuller compensation than workers’ comp alone.
Paying Back the Workers’ Comp Insurer
If your third party claim succeeds, the workers’ comp insurer can place a lien against your recovery. This reimburses them for the benefits paid to you under workers’ comp. However, your attorney can often negotiate to reduce the lien amount and maximize your total recovery.
Choosing the Right Lawyer
An experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Minnesota can help protect your rights after a third party work injury. Look for an attorney who:
Focuses specifically on workers’ comp and personal injury law
Has a proven track record of success handling third party claims
Offers free consultations and works on a contingency fee basis
Handles lien negotiations to maximize your total settlement
The right lawyer can handle the workers’ comp claim while also preparing your personal injury case against the responsible third party. This dual approach helps ensure you receive full and fair compensation.
Steps to Take After a Third Party Work Injury
If you’ve suffered a work injury caused by another party, some key steps include:
Reporting the injury to your employer
Seeking any necessary medical treatment
Documenting how the accident happened and who was involved
Gathering witness statements and contact info
Consulting a workers’ compensation attorney
Filing your workers’ comp claim immediately
Investigating who else may be liable for the accident
Pursuing a personal injury claim against negligent third parties
Common Third Party Accidents
Some of the most common types of accidents caused by third parties include:
Construction Site Injuries
Subcontractors or defective equipment may cause injuries at a construction job. Workers’ comp would cover medical care and lost wages while a lawsuit could compensate for additional damages.
When a truck driver injures an employee, the employee can claim workers’ comp from their employer and bring a personal injury claim against the trucking company.
If you’re injured while working on a third party’s unsafe property, you may have premises liability claims against the property owner in addition to workers’ comp.
Equipment failures can lead to serious workplace injuries. Bringing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer can complement the benefits from your workers’ comp claim.
Why a Lawyer Can Help
Pursuing compensation after a third party work injury can get complicated. An experienced lawyer can:
Determine all liable parties and legal claims available
Handle the workers’ comp process to quickly obtain benefits
Thoroughly investigate your accident and build your injury claim
Negotiate with insurance companies and at-fault parties
Deal with complex lien repayment issues
Take the case to trial if a fair settlement isn’t offered
This allows you to focus on your recovery while an attorney fights to maximize your compensation.
Consult a Minnesota Work Injury Lawyer
Navigating workers’ compensation and third party claims can be challenging after a workplace accident. An attorney can protect your rights and help you recover complete compensation. To discuss your situation in a free consultation, contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer today.
If your work injury was caused by an employer’s negligence, you can claim workers’ compensation.
Workers’ comp also applies if a third party like a subcontractor or defective product caused the injury.
Consider a personal injury lawsuit against the third party responsible while also claiming workers’ comp.
An attorney can help you pursue workers’ comp benefits and a third party injury claim after an accident at work.
Taking quick legal action can help maximize your total recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get workers’ comp if my injury was caused by someone other than my employer?
Yes, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits even if a third party like a subcontractor or driver injured you. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system focused on getting you medical care and replacing lost wages.
What benefits does workers’ compensation provide?
Workers’ comp benefits include coverage of medical treatment, temporary disability pay, permanent partial disability pay, rehabilitation services, and death benefits for dependents if the injury was fatal.
Can I only get workers’ comp, or can I also sue the responsible party?
You can and should pursue both workers’ comp and a personal injury claim against the negligent third party. This allows you to receive workers’ comp benefits while also holding the at-fault party fully accountable.
How long do I have to file a claim against the third party?
Under Minnesota law, you must file your third-party personal injury lawsuit within 6 years. However, it is wise to act immediately to preserve evidence and prevent delays.
How will my workers’ comp lien get repaid if I get a settlement?
Your attorney can negotiate with the workers’ comp insurer to reduce the lien amount repayable from your settlement. This helps maximize the total compensation you can recover.
Choosing the Best Workers’ Comp Attorney for Your Case
At Mottaz & Sisk Injury and Work Compensation Lawyers we have years of knowledge and industry experience. Call us at 763-421-8226 today for your free consultation.