By definition, a third party lawsuit is one that is brought forth against another party or person in regards to injuries that are suffered by the plaintiff. Example, a workers compensation case should the employee be injured by a crane or some other machinery. This lawsuit would then be filed against their employer, but also a third party to the crane manufacturer.
Laws for workers compensation typically don’t allow for a worker or employee to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer when they’ve suffered work injuries. However, they may utilize the “at-fault” persons clause or entities and file as a third party against them.
This would be similar to injury cases whereby the injured party is compensated for their medical expenses due to the injury, and compensated for any future medical expenses due to the injury.
The person would also be awarded compensation for lost wages as well as past, present and future wages and any pain and suffering due to the injury. This would also include disability if they can prove that the injury is due to the third party’s negligence that has led to the injuries.
Employees may, in the process of performing their assigned duties, be injured due to a third party that isn’t connected to their business. Such cases have specific legal issues and implications.
In many cases, employee’s that are injured by the third party may file their worker’s compensation via their employer’s insurance and by a separate third-party negligence claim.
Should an employee receive an award from the third-party lawsuit, the state laws often require them to reimburse the worker’s compensation benefits first. After this, the employee is entitled to keep the remaining amount of the reward for their pain and suffering or for any punitive damages that weren’t covered by their worker’s compensation pay.
Other examples are when an employee is injured due to a defective product or service. They may file the worker’s compensation claim and also file a claim against the third-party for damages. This may be for defective equipment, toxic fumes or exposure or a faulty mechanical error on machinery.
If an employer is aware of something faulty and doesn’t make the effort to make the necessary repairs, this would constitute negligence and thus not be eligible for third-party compensation as the employer knew but failed to rectify the situation.
To determine if a third-party lawsuit is an option always check with a lawyer regarding the fine details prior to making the move to file the lawsuit. There are many fine details that must be sorted out prior to filing such a lawsuit.
It must be proven that the employer was unaware of the faulty equipment and that the employee didn’t know he or she was using faulty equipment prior to the filing of the lawsuit.
Each and every case must be carefully examined prior to filing to ensure that the party is indeed entitled to a third-party lawsuit and not just worker’s compensation. In all cases, if a third-party lawsuit is filed, the employee must first reimburse their worker’s compensation before they are entitled to utilize the remaining funds.