Somewhere along the lines, you’ve heard mention of a third-party case. Truth be told, it’s likely the term has no immediate meaning to your personal life. That is, until you’ve had a work accident. Suddenly, the significance becomes evident.
Take a typical scenario. You’re riding shotgun in a delivery truck. Both you and your co-worker are prepared to empty product at the next stop. Then, it happens.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a pickup flies through an intersection in downtown Scranton and rams into the passenger side of the truck. When the vehicles stop, you notice your arm is twisted, and you can actually see a bone ready to penetrate your skin.
No doubt you’ve been seriously injured. Since you’re in the course of your employment, you rightfully assume you’ll be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the crash was clearly the fault of the speeding pickup. Do you have the right to file legal papers against the owner and operator at the at-fault vehicle?
It all depends. In the unlikely event that the driver of the pickup was a co-worker also in the course of their employment, you could not file a lawsuit against the other motor vehicle operator. Otherwise, if their negligence caused your injuries, you may file a civil claim for damages.
Third Party Liability Cases
A third-party case assumes that someone other than your employer is at least partially liable for your work accident. All things considered, a motor vehicle crash is an easy to understand example. Notably, the injury victim could not sue the driver of the vehicle driven by her co-employee even if he or she was negligent.
Under Pennsylvania laws, workers’ compensation is considered a no-fault benefit. Therefore, there is no further legal remedy against co-employees whose negligent actions caused you harm.
In the meantime, there are many work accidents that are related to third-party liability. Some cases include the following:
- Factory accidents: Improperly designed or maintained machine contributed to your injuries. For example, were you hurt when a nail gun inadvertently misfired? You may be able to secure damages for a products liability action.
- Construction site accidents: Did someone from another trade drop something that landed on your body and cause you harm? As long as they are not employed by your company, you may be able to pursue a third party claim outside of workers’ compensation.
- Warehouse or industrial accidents: Whether you’re hired as a temporary or permanent employee, not everyone who works together in warehouses necessarily works for the same company. The individual who hits you with a forklift may actually be an employee of an outside agency. This may be critical information if you’re hurt when they inadvertently slam into you as you’re moving boxes/
The bottom line is that some workers’ compensation accidents also represent negligent actions. At Fellerman & Ciarimboli, we can assist you in determining whether you have more than one claim. Contact our offices to schedule a complimentary appointment.