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Workers’ Compensation Third-Party Claims in Pennsylvania

When workers get hurt at work or become sick due to working conditions, Pennsylvania has a legal safety net that ensures they are financially protected while recovering from their injuries. This safety net usually comes in the form of workers' compensation insurance, which almost all employers are legally required to carry for their employees, starting on their first day of employment. Most people are familiar with this concept of filing a when injured on the job. However, what happens when someone other than your employer is responsible for your injury?

A third-party claim is a personal injury claim you can file if you were hurt on the job, but an outside party is responsible for your injury. This claim allows injured workers to sue the at-fault party for pain and suffering. Learn more about a third-party claim and how to file one after a workplace accident.

Third-Party Workers' Compensation Claims: What You Need to Know

Workers compensation third party claimsA third-party negligence claim arises when a worker's injury is caused by someone other than their employer or a co-worker. For example, if a delivery driver is hit by another vehicle while making deliveries, the negligent driver of the other vehicle can be held responsible for the injury. Third-party liability claims are designed to supplement workers' compensation claims, providing additional compensation for damages that workers' compensation may not cover, such as pain and suffering.

It's important to note that workers' compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you will receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for your injury. However, pursuing a third-party claim for a workplace accident or illness can help injured employees recover more comprehensive compensation for their losses.

What Are Some Examples of Third Party Negligence?

There are various scenarios where third-party negligence can result in a worker's injury. Some common examples include:

  • Defective Products: The manufacturer can be held liable if a worker is injured by a defective machine or tool.
  • Other Drivers: As mentioned earlier, if a worker is involved in a car accident while on the job and the other driver is at fault, the worker can file a third-party claim against the driver.
  • Contractors and Subcontractors: Multiple contractors and subcontractors may work simultaneously on construction sites. A third-party claim can be filed if a worker is injured due to another contractor's or subcontractor's negligence.
  • Property Owners: If a worker is injured on someone else's property due to unsafe conditions, such as broken stairs or a bite by an aggressive animal, the property owner can be held responsible.

Filing a Third Party Lawsuit After a Work Injury

Filing a third-party lawsuit involves several steps:

  • Report Your Injury: Immediately report your injury to your employer and seek medical attention.
  • File a Workers' Compensation Claim: File a workers' compensation claim with your employer's insurance carrier to ensure you receive benefits while recovering.
  • Identify the Third Party: Determine if another party can be held responsible for your injuries.
  • Consult a Workers Compensation Attorney: Contact a personal injury attorney at Munley Law for a free consultation to discuss your case and the potential for filing a third-party lawsuit.
  • Gather Evidence: To support your claim, collect evidence such as medical records, accident reports, and witness statements.
  • File the Lawsuit: Your attorney will help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party, seeking compensation for damages not covered by workers' compensation for your work-related accident.

What Does My Workers Compensation Claim Cover?

Workers' compensation insurance is designed for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. You can expect financial compensation for:

Medical Expenses

Workers' compensation insurance covers the cost of medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses. This includes:

  • Doctor Visits: Fees for consultations and treatments by medical professionals.
  • Hospital Stays: Costs for inpatient and outpatient services.
  • Surgery: Expenses for surgical procedures.
  • Rehabilitation: Physical therapy and other rehabilitative services are needed for recovery.
  • Medications: Prescription drugs related to the injury or illness.
  • Medical Equipment: Items like crutches, wheelchairs, or other necessary medical devices.

Disability Benefits

If a work-related injury or illness prevents an employee from working, workers' compensation provides disability benefits, including temporary and permanent disability.

Lost Wages

Workers' compensation compensates for lost wages if an employee cannot work due to a work-related injury or illness. The amount paid is usually a percentage of the worker's average weekly wage, often around two-thirds.

Death Benefits

Workers compensation third party claimsIf a worker dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, workers' compensation provides death benefits to the worker's dependents. This can include:

  • Funeral Expenses: Coverage for the cost of funeral and burial services.
  • Survivor Benefits: Financial support to the deceased worker's spouse, children, or other dependents.

How Can a Third Party Claim Fill in the Gaps of Workers Comp?

Third-party claims can help bridge the gap by providing additional compensation that workers' compensation does not cover, including:

  • Pain and Suffering: Unlike workers' compensation, third-party claims can include compensation for pain and suffering. This allows injured workers to recover from the emotional and physical distress caused by their injuries.
  • Punitive Damages: If the third party's actions were reckless or intentional, the injured worker might be awarded punitive damages in a third-party lawsuit. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
  • Full Wage Replacement: Workers can seek full compensation for lost wages through a third-party claim, including the portion not covered by workers' compensation. This ensures that the worker is financially whole during their recovery period.
  • Additional Medical Expenses: Third-party claims can also cover medical expenses that exceed the limits of workers' compensation benefits. This includes long-term care, specialized treatments, and other medical costs related to the injury.

What Is the Right of Subrogation?

The right of subrogation allows employers to seek reimbursement from a third party for the benefits they have paid out in workers' compensation.

If you receive a settlement or judgment from a third party, your employer or their compensation insurance company may have the right to recover the amount they paid you in workers' compensation benefits. This ensures you are not compensated twice for the same injury and helps employers recoup some of their costs.

How Long Does a Third-Party Lawsuit Take?

The duration of a third-party lawsuit can vary significantly based on several factors, including:

  • Severity of Injuries: More severe injuries often require longer recovery and more extensive medical documentation, prolonging the case.
  • Complexity of the Case: Cases involving multiple parties, complex legal issues, or extensive evidence can take longer to resolve.
  • Court Schedules: The availability of court dates and the efficiency of the legal process can also impact the timeline.

On average, a third-party lawsuit can take several months to a few years to resolve. It's important to work closely with your workers' compensation lawyer to understand the specific factors that may affect your case.

Call Munley Law if You Have Questions About a Third Party Work Injury Claim

Workers compensation third party claims

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or fallen ill due to the actions of an external party, you may be eligible to file a workers' compensation third-party personal injury claim.

You will want the best injury lawyers by your side while you recover. Call the experienced attorneys at Munley Law today. Your consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney is free, and you owe us nothing until we win the monetary damages you are entitled to.

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