A Guide for Workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, an injured worker has the right to ask his employer to cover the medical costs associated with workplace injuries. Compensation for on-the-job injuries comes from an employers’ workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation provides coverage of all medical bills related to the injury. It also covers a portion of the employee’s salary, if the injury leaves the employee unable to work.
Workers’ Compensation is available no matter who is at-fault for the injury. So, if you made a mistake and caused your own injury, you can still receive compensation. This is a good thing.
However, worker’s compensation no-fault rule also means that you can’t sue your employer if your employer is at fault for your injury. There are a few exceptions to this rule. You can read about those exceptions here.
Understanding Third-Party Claims
A third-party workplace injury claim is a personal injury lawsuit that is filed against someone other than an employer. You can file a third-party claim if someone other than your employer contributed to your accident. Some examples of third-parties who are liable for work-related injuries include:
A worksite supervisor or project manager: If you work on a construction site, your employer may be one of several subcontractors working on the project. There may be a site-supervisor or architect who is responsible for supervising the entire project and making sure the site is safe. You can file a lawsuit against the site-supervisor if you are injured because of unsafe conditions at the worksite.
Outside contractor: Every subcontractor has a duty to help maintain a safe worksite. You may be able to file a third-party claim against another contractor at your worksite, if that contractor was negligent and caused a dangerous condition that contributed to your injury.
Manufacturers of defective equipment: Machines and tools should be safe when used for their intended purpose. If you are injured because of an equipment malfunction or defect, the manufacturer or distributor of the tool or machine may be held responsible.
Driver: If your job involves driving or travel, you may be injured in a work-related traffic accident. In this case, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against your own auto insurance company or insurance company of the driver responsible for your crash.
I’m Getting Workers’ Compensation. Why Do I Want to File a Third-Party Claim?
A workers’ compensation claim will cover your medical costs and a portion of the wages you were not able to earn because of the injury. You won’t receive all your lost income and you won’t receive compensation or pain and suffering, emotional distress or other non-economic damages. Therefore, a third-party lawsuit is often worth significantly more than a workers’ compensation claim.
To discuss your own case and learn more about filing a third-party claim for a workplace accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Ostroff Injury Law.