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Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Lawsuits

Millions of people are injured at work every year, some so severely that their lives will never be the same. For most of them, the only recourse for payment of their medical expenses and lost wages is workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is designed so that injured workers can collect damages from their employers without having to file a lawsuit and prove their employer was negligent. In turn, the employer cannot claim the worker’s own negligence was responsible for the injury.

Although workers cannot sue their employers, there are some situations in which they may sue a third party who was also responsible for the injury. Although the law generally requires the worker who collects from a third party to reimburse workers’ comp for the benefits they received, the third party awards are almost always much more than the benefits received through workers’ comp. For example, damages for pain and suffering are not available through workers’ comp but may be awarded in a third party claim.

Third Party Claims

A third party claim arises when the injury was due to the negligence of a third party. Some examples of work-related injuries caused by a third party for which you may have a lawsuit include:

  • A poorly designed tool or piece of equipment malfunctioned and caused your injuries. It may have been poorly designed. The manufacturer may have known of a defect or danger and failed to warn users of the potential for harm. You may have a claim against the manufacturer and distributor for your damages.
  • You were driving for a work-related reason when you were in a car accident caused by a negligent driver. You may have a third-party claim against the other driver.
  • When a toxic substance released in the workplace caused your injury, such as poisonous fumes, asbestos or other substances, the manufacturer of the toxic substance may be sued. If your employer knew the substance was toxic and failed to provide protection, such as respirators or proper protective clothing, the employer may be sued in a third party lawsuit.
  • If you were assaulted by another employee, you may have a third party lawsuit against the one who assaulted you.

If you were injured at work, our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys at Campbell & Associates offer a free case evaluation. We can help you collect all the compensation to which you are legally entitled. We will evaluate whether you may also have a third party claim. You must file your third party claim within a certain period of time after the incident, so contact us as soon as possible.


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