No matter what your industry, you know that a workplace injury is always possible – and workers’ compensation is supposed to be there for you in those situations to cover your medical bills and provide you with some replacement wages and other benefits.
However, workers’ compensation benefits are fairly limited in nature. If your injury is severe, workers’ comp may not cover all the associated expenses you have, and there’s a cap on how much you can recover in lost wages. Plus, workers’ comp does not pay for any non-economic damages, such as your pain and suffering or the loss of enjoyment of life.
Can you sue to obtain additional compensation?
It may be possible to press a third-party claim
With few exceptions, workers’ compensation is an injured employee’s only recourse against their covered employer. That is by design. In order to give injured workers fast access to medical care and some financial stability, the trade-off is that employers are indemnified even when they were negligent.
However, you do have the right to bring a personal injury claim in civil court against any additional party who may have caused or contributed to your accident. This is called a third-party claim and it operates independently from your workers’ comp claim.
Some examples of when a third-party claim might be appropriate include situations like:
- You were working on a construction crew and a passing motorist was talking on their phone and hit you, causing your injuries. You could pursue a claim against the motorist for negligence.
- You were walking through your office and a delivery person wasn’t watching where they were going and knocked into you with a cart, causing you to fall. You could potentially sue the delivery company for their employee’s negligence.
- You were making deliveries to someone’s home, and they failed to warn you that the steps to the porch were broken, so you fell through and got hurt. The homeowner may be liable for your injuries.
When you’re injured and unable to work, the last thing you want to do is let an opportunity for fair compensation pass you by. Learning more about third-party claims and workers’ compensation can help you to make informed decisions about your rights and options under the law.