Third-Party Claims Arising From On-the-Job Injuries
Unlike many states, Texas law does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation. If you are injured on the job and your employer does not have workers’ comp, you will likely need to present your claim to demonstrate their negligence just as you would any other personal injury defendant. If your employer does have workers’ comp coverage, however, then you are entitled to workers’ comp after most workplace injuries. What happens when your employer does carry workers’ comp, however, and another party is to blame for your injuries? What if you were in an accident caused by the negligence of some third party that does not work for your company? To learn about recovering compensation when a third party is to blame for your workplace accident, read on. Call a knowledgeable Beaumont workplace accident lawyer for assistance if you’ve been hurt on the job in a Texas workplace.
What is a Third-Party Claim?
A third-party claim refers to claims against parties other than your employer. In the typical workers’ compensation case, the worker’s injuries result from an accident at the workplace, either caused by a coworker, the employer, the worker themself, or simply unfortunate circumstance. If the employer carried workers’ compensation insurance, the employee would have a workers’ comp claim and would be generally prohibited from filing additional claims for damages against the employer, unless death resulted from the injury.
In many cases, however, the injuries were not caused by the employer, but by instead by a third party. For example, a worker might be injured in a car accident caused by some negligent driver on the road. If the accident had not occurred while the injured worker was on the job, the accident victim would have a typical personal injury claim against the negligent driver. Another common example is a worker who is injured by a defective product, tool or equipment. The issue becomes more complex when the accident victim is injured while on the job. Now, the worker potentially has two separate and independent routes for recovering damages: workers’ comp (against the employer and their insurer) and personal injury (against the at-fault third party).
Third-party claims often arise when a worker is hit by a negligent driver while on a work-related delivery. Other common situations of third-party liability include when a worker is injured due to a defective piece of equipment or other product, and when third-party contractors perform their duties negligently (such as if contractors fail to load a truck properly, leading to a truck accident down the line). We have seen hundreds of scenarios where an innocent victim is entitled to damages not only from the workers’ comp carrier but also a responsible third party.
What Happens When a Third Party Causes Your Injury?
If you’re injured by a negligent third party while you’re on the job in Texas, and your employer carries workers’ comp insurance, you likely should pursue both avenues – both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim. In other words, you should actually pursue both claims in most circumstances. The reason that you should pursue a third party claim (in addition to the Workers Comp claim) is that with the former, you are entitled to assert claims for all of your damages in a third party claim. With workers comp claims, you may potentially only recover medical bills and a percentage of your actual lost wages, without an ability to recover physical impairment, physical pain and suffering, and mental worry and grief. Additionally, your spouse is not entitled to recover for her damages with a workers’ compensation claim. Thus, it is often beneficial to seek personal injury damages through a third party claim while simultaneously receiving benefits by a workers comp claim.
You should not, however, expect to double-recover the same damages. If you successfully sue the third party for damages and also collect workers’ comp benefits, the workers’ comp insurance provider will expect to be reimbursed for a majority of the payments made to you or for your medical treatment. In fact, even if you choose not to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent third party, the insurance company might do so in your name.
Trusted Advice and Dedicated Representation for Third-Party Liability Claims in Texas
If you’ve been hurt by a negligent third party while on the job or due to the negligence of your employer in Texas, contact the seasoned and successful Beaumont personal injury lawyers at the Gilbert Adams Law Offices for a free consultation on your case at 409-835-3000.