When injured on the job, most people know to file a claim with their employer to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Whether the employer is at fault or not, workers’ compensation is available to employees who are injured while working in California.
But when someone other than the employer is also responsible for injuries to an employee, the employee has the right to make a liability claim against that third party. A third-party liability claim is a type of personal injury claim that occurs in a work context.
At Licata & Yeremenko, A Professional Law Corporation, we know it’s quite common these days for people to be ‘at work’ without being in the office. Employers can have employees going to all kinds of places and doing a variety of tasks where the potential for accidents exists. Our Southern California-based third-party liability attorneys help employees receive full compensation for their work-related injuries.
Types of Third Party Liability Claims
Employees may have job responsibilities that require them to go into other businesses or to visit people in their homes. Employees may have to use certain equipment to perform their duties that may have been manufactured by a company other than the employer. As employees go about their day, they may encounter any number of situations where someone is not paying attention or makes a mistake.
Third-party liability claims frequently arise from the following situations:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall on the property of another
- Equipment malfunction
- Exposure to toxins
Compensation that an Injured Worker Can Recover in a Third-Party Liability Claim
Because a third-party liability claim is a claim for personal injury, both economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost income), as well as non-economic damages (such as pain & suffering and emotional distress), can be compensated in a third-party liability claim.
Meanwhile, workers’ compensation benefits provide limited coverage for medical expenses and wage replacement but do not provide coverage for any non-economic damages.
What Happens When Both Workers’ Compensation and Third-Party Liability Claims are Made
Typically, a workers’ compensation claim is made fairly soon after a work-related accident because benefits can be paid without any determination of fault. A third-party liability lawsuit will take longer to resolve because fault and the full extent of the employee’s damages need to be determined.
When a third party is liable for an employee’s injuries, California law gives both the employee and the employer the right to bring an action against the third party. An employer who has paid workers’ compensation benefits to an employee is entitled to recover those amounts paid from the compensation that the third party must pay the employee. An employee is only allowed to recover once for each element of damages.
However, when both the employer and the third party have some responsibility for an employee’s injuries, an employer is not allowed to recover amounts paid to an employee. Instead, the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that the employee received is deducted from the economic damages awarded to the employee.
The liability for non-economic damages is based on a percentage of fault attributed to each responsible party. A third party’s liability to pay damages for pain & suffering, mental distress, loss of companionship, and injury to reputation will be limited to only the percentage of fault attributed to the third party.
Get Help Filing a Third-Party Liability Claim for a Work-Related Injury
Workers’ compensation benefits are the only recourse an employee has against an employer for injuries that occur at work. The benefits are limited and don’t fully compensate an employee for all of their damages. Filing a third-party liability claim can help an injured employee receive full compensation for all of the injuries that they have suffered.
The California-based personal injury lawyers at Licata & Yeremenko, A Professional Law Corporation are experienced in handling third-party liability claims and helping injured employees get the maximum compensation that they are entitled to. Call our office at 818-783-5757 to schedule a free initial consultation or contact us here.