What is a Third Party?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to people injured on the job. However, there are times when an injured worker may have a claim against a third party other than their employer. An experienced personal injury lawyer from Allen Law Firm can review the circumstances surrounding your workplace accident and determine if you may have grounds for a third-party injury case.
Workers’ Compensation System
According to Florida law, the workers’ compensation system in Florida is based on a mutual relinquishment of “common-law rights and defenses by employers and employees alike.” Before the workers’ compensation system existed, injured workers would have to sue their employers to be compensated for their workplace injuries. This put employees in the unenviable position of suing their own employers and worrying that they would lose their livelihoods in the process.
Workers’ compensation allows an injured employee to seek compensation for injuries that occur within the scope of their employment without having to prove the employer was negligent. In exchange, they lose their right to sue their employer.
In some situations, a third party may have contributed to the worker’s injuries. Workers’ compensation does not generally bar an injured worker from seeking compensation from a negligent third party. The injured worker may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits and compensation from a negligent third party at the same time.
Common Types of Third-Party Claims
Some common scenarios in which an injured worker may have a claim against a third party include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many individuals work as drivers, including:
- Flower and grocery store drivers
- Furniture company workers and delivery drivers
- Bus drivers
- Truck drivers
- Rideshare drivers
Even if driving is not a core function of the job, many employees may drive as part of their job, such as when driving to a client meeting, a training, or an offsite location. Employees may also be sent on errands for their company or boss, such as getting coffee or picking up office supplies. If an employee is injured while driving for work, the employee may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver. They may also still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Some workers may have to work on other properties, such as staff who are catering an event or construction workers who are making repairs. If the property owner was negligent and the worker was injured as a result, the injured worker may have a third-party claim against them.
Defective Product Injuries
Workers may have to work with various items and machines. If these items are defectively designed or manufactured or if they contain insufficient warning labels, the injured worker can seek compensation from a third-party claim.
Construction Site Accidents
Construction sites can be particularly dangerous and may involve several workers all working for different companies on one site. The general contractor is generally responsible for keeping the job site safe and may be liable if they fail to achieve this standard and someone is injured as a result.
In some situations, a worker may be injured when they breathe in, come in contact with, or ingest a toxic chemical. Common types of toxic exposure in the workplace include:
- Lead-based paint
- Gas or paint fumes
Injured workers may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of the dangerous substance.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the circumstances surrounding your injuries and determine if you have grounds for a third-party personal injury case.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Injured workers can have their medical care, treatment, and prescriptions paid for by workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, many injured workers receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage as partial wage replacement benefits, according to Florida’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Third-Party Claim Compensation
The Florida Supreme Court may instruct juries that they can award personal injury victims compensation for:
- Medical expenses – Accident victims can be awarded compensation for hospitalization, nursing care, and reasonably necessary medical treatment for the injuries they sustained.
- Lost wages – Juries can also award accident victims for the value of their lost employment wages and benefits.
- Lost earning capacity – If the injury victim became permanently disabled or had to transfer to a lower-earning job, the jury can award compensation for lost or reduced earning capacity.
- Property damage – The accident victim can receive compensation for the cost to repair or replace personal property that was damaged in the accident.
- Pain and suffering – Accident victims can recover compensation for their physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress – Accident victims can also recover compensation for the emotional distress they suffered.
- Punitive damages – In some situations, punitive damages may be awarded in Florida personal injury cases when the defendant’s behavior is particularly egregious and they are punished for their wrongdoing.
An experienced personal injury lawyer from Allen Law Firm can explain the damages that you may be able to seek in your workers’ compensation and/or third-party claim.
Contact a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Third-Party Claim
Our Gainesville personal injury lawyers can help you explore whether you qualify for workers’ comp and/or a third-party claim. Contact or call Allen Law Firm, P.A. today at (877) 255-3652 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.