While a workers’ compensation claim provides compensation for damages that result from most workplace injuries, in some situations, an injured worker may also have a claim against a third party who is responsible for the accident. The third party generally must not be a co-employee or employer.
Our Green Bay personal injury attorneys discuss what you need to know about proving liability and filing third-party claims. If you were hurt on the job by someone other than your employer, contact us for a free consultation to learn the legal options that may be available for recovering compensation.
Workplace Accidents Involving Third Parties
Sometimes, injuries that occur due to a workplace accident involve a third party. These could include:
- Car accidents that happen while you drove a company vehicle or drove your own vehicle to perform work
- Accidents caused by defective products, such as faulty tools or equipment
- Exposure to toxic substances on the job
- Injuries caused by the negligent actions of another business or employer
Proving Liability in a Third-Party Claim
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, negligence plays a factor when it comes to third-party claims.
To pursue a claim against a third party believed to be responsible for your workplace injury, the third party must have owed you a duty of care and breached that duty directly causing your injury and resulting in damages, such as medical expenses and loss of wages.
Proving liability varies based on the situation surrounding your injury:
- If you are injured in a car accident while performing work duties, you must prove that the other driver’s negligent actions were the cause of the accident and the injuries you sustained resulting from the accident.
- If your injury was caused by a defective product, you must prove the product manufacturer’s liability. This may involve proving the manufacturer’s product was inherently dangerous to use, the manufacturer knew that their equipment did not work as intended/was faulty or that the manufacturer failed to warn your employer or users of the dangers associated with the product.
- If you are injured by a toxic substance at work, you may have a claim against the substance’s manufacturer or the manufacturer of faulty safety equipment used while handling the substance. You may need to prove that the manufacturer failed to provide proper warnings regarding the use of their substance which caused your injury.
Filing a Third-Party Claim for a Work Injury
If you suffer a work injury caused by a third party, you may be able to file a third-party claim as well as a workers’ compensation claim.
Pursuing a third-party claim will typically involve contacting the third party or their insurer in writing. This initiates a third party insurance claim, which is then investigated by the third party’s insurance company. If your claim is approved, you may accept the offer or negotiate further. In the event it is denied, you have the option to appeal the decision or file a lawsuit in court.
Third-party claims allows you to seek certain damages unavailable through workers’ compensation. While workers’ compensation covers medical expenses for work-related injuries as well as some wage replacement compensation, it does not typically cover all the losses you experience due to a work injury.
Damages available from a third-party claim could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Property damage
A settlement obtained through a third-party claim could help replace the difference between your workers’ compensation wage benefits and the earnings you would normally make if you were working.
It is also important to note that if a claim is successful, Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation system does have the right to be reimbursed for benefits they paid to you.
Discuss Your Claim With an Experienced Attorney
If you believe a third party is responsible for your workplace injury, our attorneys at Sigman and Janssen are ready to help. Our firm has nearly 100 years of combined legal experience representing Wisconsin injury victims and their families and a proven track record recovering compensation for our clients.
It costs nothing to have our legal team evaluate your claim and inform you of your potential legal options during a free consultation. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call (877) 888-5201 or fill out our Free Case Review form.