Filing A Workers’ Compensation Vs. Third-Party Injury Claim After A Work-Related Injury
Employees who sustain injuries at work or develop work-related illnesses are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. In some cases, an injured worker may also be able to recover damages from a third party whose negligence caused their injury.
So, if you were injured at work, should you pursue a third-party personal injury claim in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim to get compensated for your damages and expenses?
Or should you file a workers’ compensation and third-party injury claim? It is advisable to discuss your particular case with a knowledgeable attorney to determine how to best proceed in your situation.
Speak with our Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., to talk about your options.
Should You File a Workers’ Compensation and/or a Third-Party Injury Claim?
There are three main differences between workers’ compensation and third-party personal injury claims:
- Fault. You do not have to prove anyone’s fault to be eligible for workers’ compensation. When pursuing a personal injury claim against a third party, you need to prove that the party was negligent and that your injuries arose out of that negligence to be entitled to compensation.
- Damages. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers can obtain compensation for reasonable medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. With a third-party injury claim, the injured worker can recover other types of damages, including emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and many others.
- Time limit. In Pennsylvania, workers must notify their employers of their work-related injury within 120 days of the workplace accident. The time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim is three years from the date of injury. By contrast, in most cases you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party who caused or contributed to your work-related injury.
Discuss your options with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you should pursue an injury claim against a third party in addition to a workers’ compensation claim against your employer’s insurance company.
Third Parties That May Be Held Liable for Your Work-Related Injury
Many employees who sustain work-related injuries do not realize that they can hold third parties liable for their injury. Third parties that may be held liable for workplace accidents include:
- Other drivers. If you drive a motor vehicle or ride as a passenger as part of your job duties and were injured while on the road, you might be able to pursue a third-party claim against a driver who caused your collision.
- Manufacturers. If your work-related injury is caused by equipment failure or defect, you may be able to hold the equipment manufacturer liable for your injury. However, you will have to prove that the product that caused your injury was either defective or inherently dangerous.
- Government entities. In some workplace accidents, a government entity may be held liable for a worker’s injury. One of the examples is a public utility provider’s failure to properly maintain electrical wires, which results in an electrocution accident.
- Construction. If you are a construction worker who was injured at work, you may be able to pursue an injury claim against a third party such as a vendor, supplier, or contractor, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- Property owners. If your work-related injury occurred on someone else’s property, you might be able to hold the owner of the property liable for your injury.
Contact a Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Do not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your particular case and determine if you can hold a third party responsible for your work-related injury or illness. Contact Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., for a case evaluation. Call 717-238-1657 today.