Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Injured employees can receive benefits regardless of whether the employer, a coworker or the employee themselves caused the accident. Because of this, workers generally cannot sue within their own company for work-related injuries.
However, a party outside the worker’s company may have caused or contributed to the injury. In this case, an employee can file a third-party claim against the negligent individual or business.
1. Safety issues on construction sites
Third parties that could cause injury on construction sites include:
- Subcontractors who perform poor work
- General contractors who do not enforce safety procedures,
- Machinery, scaffolding or ladder providers who deliver faulty tools or materials
2. Defective equipment
Dangerously defective equipment is another common source of third-party liability, especially for workers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, processing and agriculture.
3. Exposure to hazardous materials
Examples of substances or conditions that can endanger workers include radiation, excessive noise, electricity, temperature extremes, infectious diseases and toxic materials.
4. Motor vehicle accidents
Employees who work in trucking, transportation or other jobs that involve operating a vehicle may be able to file a personal injury claim against another driver who causes an accident.
5. Hazardous conditions on someone else’s property
Delivery drivers and other workers who frequently visit different commercial or residential properties face the risk of injury if businesses or homeowners fail to keep premises safe. Common hazards include uncleared snow or ice, damaged or uneven walkways and unsecured pets.
While workers’ compensation provides important coverage for medical bills and a portion of lost wages, it does not compensate for pain and suffering. Pursuing a third-party claim in addition to workers’ comp may help an injured employee receive the full compensation needed to recover physically, financially and emotionally.