A workers’ compensation claim is a first-party claim because you are the covered party filing a claim based on your own insurance. Generally, all California businesses with employees must purchase this coverage for their workers, and it pays out when a worker suffers on-the-job injuries.
When that worker’s injuries occur because of someone else’s negligence, they might also have a viable third-party liability claim. They can seek compensation from the party who caused their injuries as long as it was not their employer or a co-worker.
A Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can answer your questions about this process and help you understand your options for justice and compensation. Most provide free case consultations.
Understanding Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Personal Injury Cases
Workers’ compensation is insurance coverage that ensures access to medical care and wage loss benefits if you suffer injuries because of an incident or accident at work. This is a no-fault policy that should pay regardless of who caused your injuries under most circumstances.
A third-party claim occurs when you pursue compensation from a party who is not your insurer. In addition, you cannot sue your employer or co-workers under California law. This is a fault-based claim. Some common third parties involved in workplace injury cases include:
- Property owners
- General contractors
- Other companies, often distributors or manufacturers
- Other drivers, if the injuries occurred in a road accident
When you pursue a third-party case, it occurs simultaneously but separately from your workers’ compensation claim. The two cases have no bearing on one another. However, they often share evidence and facts.
Who Can File a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim Based on a Jobsite Injury?
Not all workplace injuries will support a personal injury case. Sometimes, the injuries are truly accidental, or they occur because of something you, your employer, or a co-worker did. None of these circumstances would support a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
You could have the option of filing a third-party personal injury case if you can show that another party’s carelessness or recklessness caused your injuries. For example, imagine a delivery driver stacked boxes too high, and they collapsed on you. This driver’s careless actions might support a lawsuit against him or his employer, holding one or both of them responsible for your injuries.
One way to learn about the possibility of a third-party claim in your case is to discuss it with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. They will assess your case facts and offer advice about your next steps. This could include pursuing compensation by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent party who caused your accident and injuries.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Provide? What About a Personal Injury Case?
California workers’ compensation benefits include several categories available to workers and their families, depending on the circumstances, including:
- Medical care costs: Your workers’ compensation coverage should pay for your treatment and management of your injury or illness from start to finish.
- Wage loss benefits: Wage loss benefits are based on your usual income and payout as temporary disability benefits until you can return to work or permanent disability benefits if you cannot recover from your injuries enough to return to your previous job.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits: These benefits include vouchers for certain retraining, education, or skill enhancement programs. These are for those who cannot return to their previous job in their previous capacity or need help relearning how to do their job with new impairments.
- Death benefits: If the worker dies from their workplace injury or illness, these benefits go to the immediate family as a one-time payment.
Some of these costs might also fall under the recoverable damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The damages in these cases vary but often include:
- Medical bills and related costs
- Ongoing care and support needs
- Lost income because of time away from work
- Diminished earning capacity if they cannot return to work
- Miscellaneous related expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help With My Workplace Injury Case?
If you believe you may have a third-party personal injury case or have trouble getting your workers’ compensation benefits, connect with an attorney who can review your case and offer advice.
Hiring a law firm to handle your workplace injury case has several benefits. Primarily, you have someone with experience and knowledge on your side fighting for your best interests. They will handle your cases from start to finish, allowing you to focus on your treatment and healing. In addition, you can count on your law firm to:
- Answer your questions and address concerns
- Protect your rights and ensure you understand them
- Manage all communication about the case
- Identify your potential sources of compensation
- Investigate what happened and build a compelling case
- File claims and provide supporting evidence
- Negotiate for fair settlements
- Sue as necessary
- Fight for a fair payout in each case
Lawyers handle both workers’ comp and personal injury cases based on contingency fees. You should not have to pay anything to hire an attorney to represent you. They work for a percentage of the compensation you receive when they win your case, and they only get paid if they recover compensation for you.
Discuss Your Options With an Attorney From KJT Law Group
KJT Law Group provides free case consultations for injured workers. We can assess your workers’ compensation case and review it to determine if you might have a viable third-party lawsuit. We understand how these cases work together and how to navigate them separately. Best of all, our team handles both of them, so you do not have to act as a go-between with two different firms. We share evidence and information.