Usually workers compensation and personal injury cases are “either or” affairs. If you were injured on the job, then you’d file a workers compensation claim.
Workers compensation is a sort of bargain made by employers: they agree to cover part of your wages and your medical bills and you agree not to sue them for everything else you could generally sue someone for in an injury case. It’s a concept that dates all the way back to ancient Sumer. Both parties ignore the issue of fault.
But there are exceptions to this rule. If you are injured on the job you may indeed have a personal injury claim, especially if you are a construction worker. Construction injuries are some of the most common injury claims, and they rarely are the fault of just one party.
Construction Injury Cases are Third-Party Cases
When a third party, other than your employer, is responsible for an injury you sustain on the job then you may file both a personal injury case and a workers compensation case.
In a construction case, this could be the designer or architect, a subcontractor, a materials manufacturer, a vendor, or one of the dozens of other people who touch a construction project.
Bringing both types of cases allows you to sue for pain and suffering, which workers compensation doesn’t cover. You can also get 100% of your lost wages instead of just 70% of your lost wages. Finally if you’ve lost your earning capacity or become permanently disabled you can get money for this loss that you may be able to live on in the future. Workers compensation payments don’t always take care of you for the rest of your life.
In addition, holding both parties accountable helps to shield you from the dirty tricks that employers like to play. Many employers don’t want their insurance companies to pay claims because it drives up their premiums.
Other Third-Party Cases Exist
Other third-party cases do exist. For example, if you drive for your job and get injured in a car accident, you may have a worker’s comp claim and a claim against the at-fault driver.
Most companies interact with third-parties at some point as well. The manufacturer of equipment that you use could be at-fault for your accident. A vendor or client could cause an injury. Any time you think the possibility of a third party claim exists you should at least explore the possibility of bringing both types of claims.
You Don’t Have to Do Guesswork
If you think you might have a claim it’s always important to move fast. Involve an attorney. Call our office to get a free case review. If we decide to take your case we can move fast to secure evidence before it disappears, and can deal with all relevant parties and insurance companies on your behalf so that they don’t mislead you into making mistakes that could have a negative impact on your case.
We’ve been helping injury victims for four decades, and we can help you, too.