The economy of Stroudsburg is incredibly diverse with jobs in the tourism sector to retail and warehouse work, healthcare, and transportation. Workers in Stroudsburg’s restaurants, hotels, shops, and warehouses are the heart of the city’s economy and employ 52,000 people annually. When a worker is hurt on the job in Stroudsburg, they need to know that they are going to be financially protected. That’s where workers’ compensation comes in.
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides coverage for workers who have suffered injury or illness during the course of their employment. Pennsylvania law requires that all employers with very few exceptions are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. However, if a third party is at fault for the injury or illness, you might be able to file an independent personal injury claim against this negligent party.
If you or a loved one has been hurt at work call the Stroudsburg workers’ compensation attorneys at Munley Law today for a free case evaluation. If you believe a third party is at fault for your injury, you might be eligible to also file a third party claim to receive additional financial compensation for conditions that are not covered under PA workers’ compensation benefits. We can help you navigate filing your claim for workers’ compensation and during your free case evaluation, we can help determine if there is a responsible third party who can be held liable for your injury or occupational disease.
How does a Third Party Claim Differ From Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation was instituted to financially protect workers when they are hurt at work. But it also protects PA businesses. When a worker files a claim for and receives compensation through the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, they waive the right to sue their employers in the future for their injury or sickness.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. If you have been injured at work you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether the worker or the employer was at fault for the accident. A worker may file a claim for benefits whether or not they or the company were negligent in the accident or for the environment that caused an illness or long-term injury.
However, if the worker is hurt while on the job and a third party is at fault, the injured worker can file a workers’ compensation claim and also a claim for financial damages against the third party. The waiver of rights to sue an employer while receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not apply to a negligent third party.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover?
Pennsylvania law mandates three primary coverages for injured workers:
- Medical coverage: Medical coverage includes any medical expenses related to your work injury or occupational disease. Medical coverage includes your visits to your doctor or medical practitioner, medical tests, emergency room visits, medicine and medical equipment, physical therapy, and other medically necessary treatments.
- Lost wages: If you are unable to work after an accident, you will receive a percentage of your wages, known as disability benefits. There are temporary benefits as well as permanent, depending on how long your injury or occupational disease prevents you from working.
- “Specific loss” payments: If your work injury resulted in permanent scarring or disfigurement, the loss of a limb, or impaired use of a body part, you may be eligible for “specific loss” payments.
Workers comp is designed to provide financial relief in the event of a work injury or illness. It will cover some lost wages and medical expenses. Workers’ compensation does not provide any financial compensation for pain and suffering or for “loss of consortium”, the legal term for the suffering caused when a partner is lost due to a fatal injury. Workers’ compensation also does not provide the injured party with punitive damages which are damages awarded in addition to simple compensation as a punishment to the liable third party.
What Does a Third-Party Claim Cover?
If a work-related injury was caused by someone other than an employee or their employer, the injured worker can pursue a personal injury lawsuit known as a third party claim against the at-fault person or company.
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation law prohibits you from filing a personal injury claim against your employer due to a work-related injury. Instead, workers’ compensation insurance exists to cover work-related injuries sustained during the course and scope of your job. However, you have the right to file a claim against any third party, so long as they are neither your employer nor co-worker.
Third-party claims can provide the extra compensation that you need to recover damages other than those covered under workers’ compensation. While workers’ comp covers medical bills and lost wages, a third party claim can allow you to collect compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.
Examples of third party negligence claims related to a workplace injury include:
- The driver of another vehicle, if you were hurt in a car or truck crash on the job
- The owner of hazardous or unsafe property, if hazardous conditions caused you to get hurt while working
- Snow and ice removal professionals if a worker slips and falls while on a work site
- Service professionals whose job it is to repair and maintain equipment if they fail to properly maintain or fix machinery and other work equipment
- Product liability. A product liability claim is filed when there is a defect in equipment or tools used in the course of your employment. For example: You are using a forklift at work and there is a manufacturing defect in the steering mechanism and you strike an object and you are seriously injured in the impact. You can file a workers’ compensation claim for your work injury for wage loss benefits and medical coverage and you can also file a third party suit against the forklift manufacturer in a product liability claim if the injury was caused by the product defect.
- Breach of warranty. There are three different kinds of warranties and they all require the expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer to prove when a third party might have been negligent or liable for breaching them.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer to File My Third-Party Work Injury Claim?
Not all work injury lawyers can handle a third party claim. Third party claims are more complex and have different requirements than workers’ compensation claims. For instance, workers’ compensation claimants do not need to prove negligence in order to collect their workers’ comp benefits, the same is not true for a third party liability claim.
Third-party claims are complex and require an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer from Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. In order to prove negligence and bring your case to a successful resolution, the injured party must provide proof of certain conditions. This is where an experienced Stroudsburg personal injury lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help.
Your case evaluation is free and we charge nothing until we win your third party suit. Call us today at our Stroudsburg law offices or message us using our contact form, 24 hours a day.
Stroudsburg Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
27 N 6th St,
Stroudsburg, PA 18360