In exchange for providing workers’ compensation benefits, Georgia employers are shielded from lawsuits by workers who are injured on the job. An injured employee also cannot sue a co-worker who played a role in his or her accident.
In some cases, it is proper to pursue a personal injury claim after a workplace accident and injury. These lawsuits can entitle the injured worker to recover compensation that goes beyond workers’ compensation benefits, such as payment for pain and suffering.
If you are a worker who believes you may have a third-party injury claim, the Mann Law Firm wants you to know the following information:
How Do Third-Party Injury Claims Arise?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault program. This means that a worker can recover benefits regardless of who is at fault in an accident. However, in third party injury claims, it must be proven that someone was, indeed, at fault for causing an employee’s injuries and losses.
If we consider just a few of the most common workplace accidents that result in injuries, we can see how third-party injury claims may well be justified:
- Falls – Many workers are seriously injured in falls from one level to another or in slip-and-fall accidents on the floor of the workplace. If a subcontractor was hired to erect scaffolding at a construction site, which in turn failed and caused a worker to suffer injuries, that subcontractor could be subjected to a third-party injury claim.
- Machinery malfunction – If a defective machine or equipment causes an employee to be injured, its manufacturer may ultimately be liable for the worker’s losses.
- Motor vehicle accidents – Accidents involving forklifts, pallet movers, scissor lifts and even work cars and trucks are common causes of work injuries. A worker hurt in a motor vehicle accident may hold the driver liable through a third-party injury claim.
- Objects falling onto workers – In new construction, floors, walls and other structures can collapse and injure workers. Those responsible for these structures, including architects or engineers, may be accountable for the structure’s failure.
Who Can Be Sued in a Third-Party Injury Claim?
If your workplace injury was caused by the negligence of a party other than your employer or a co-worker, you may have a right to sue that person or entity in a third-party injury claim.
A third party involved in a workplace injury might include a:
- Manufacturer or distributor of faulty or defective tools or equipment
- Subcontractor on a worksite who neglected safety procedures
- Property owner responsible for the general safety of a worksite or a property
- Driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that injured you.
In essence, a third-party injury claim for a workplace accident is a stand-alone personal injury lawsuit against that party.
What Can I Expect to Recover in a Third-Party Injury Claim?
A third-party personal injury or wrongful death claim after a workplace accident typically would seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Wrongful death (in a fatality)
- Punitive damages (if the defendant’s conduct was egregious).
Keep in mind: After a successful lawsuit, your employer may seek to recover some or all of the payments made to you as part of your workers’ compensation claim. This is known as a lien. The lien would only be satisfied after you had been fully compensated for your losses.
Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer Serving Macon and Middle Georgia
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a job-related accident, a thorough investigation may uncover the need to file a third-party injury claim.
Contact Mann Law Firm to learn more. We have a record of helping injured workers and their families throughout Macon and Middle Georgia. We can fully assess your case in a free consultation. We will charge no fees for our services unless you recover an award.
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