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When does third-party liability apply after a workplace injury?

| Jun 25, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Most employees who get hurt on the job can simply file for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault program in Massachusetts, which means that it doesn’t really matter who caused your injury, only that it occurred while you were working.   

Workers’ compensation medical benefits can be very helpful because they cover 100% of the medical care a worker needs related to their workplace injury. You won’t have any co-pay or deductible to pay. Someone hurt on the job can also potentially receive disability benefits while they are unable to work because of the injury. These benefits help reimburse a worker for some of the wages they don’t earn.  

In certain cases, workers hurt on the job may also be able to make a claim against a third party who has some degree of responsibility or liability for their injuries. When do workers have the right to bring a third-party claim or lawsuit against someone else? 

After a car crash occurs on the clock 

Motor vehicle collisions are one of the top causes of workplace injuries and deaths in the United States. An employee driving as part of their job could wind up severely hurt in a crash caused by someone else.  

In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, these injured employees may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash. Such a claim could recover the balance of unpaid wages that workers’ compensation doesn’t pay or property damage costs not covered by workers’ compensation. 

After negligence, defective products or  lawbreaking lead to an injury 

Perhaps you visited a company client who had maintained their facilities improperly, leading to you falling down the stairs. Maybe you work in construction or in a factory and a defective tool malfunctioned, leaving you with a severe wound. It’s also possible that someone unrelated to your job broke the law, maybe by robbing your employer.   

If you get hurt by someone who is obviously negligent or in the process of committing a wrongful act, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim against them, even if you also qualify for workers’ compensation.  

Understanding your third-party liability claim rights can help you get the compensation you deserve after a workplace injury. 

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