Third-Party Employee Injury Claims 101
On-the-job injuries aren’t always the result of actions or inactions by your employer. In some cases, the actions of a third party such as a customer or contractor may result in injuries to an employee. With regard to compensation, the law provides important protections to individuals involved in workplace injuries in Houston.
If you suffer an on-the-job injury, you may be able to file a worker’s compensation claim if your employer is a worker’s comp “subscriber.” Worker’s compensation claims do not require a finding of fault on the employer’s part but the worker’s comp laws also may limit your recovery. If you are hurt on the job and your employer is a “non-subscriber,” then you may not be limited in your ability to pursue a lawsuit to recover your damages. On the other hand, if you are hurt on the job, and that injury is the result of the reckless or negligent actions or inactions of a third party, you may also be able to file a third-party liability claim.
For example, if you’re working in the shipping department of a company, and a delivery service driver runs over your foot, you may be able to recover worker’s compensation benefits from your employer’s comp carrier, but you may also be able to sue the delivery driver and the company where he or she works.
Here’s another example. Let’s say that you work at a tax preparation firm, and you spend much of your day seated in an office chair. If that chair has a defective leg that breaks and causes you to fall and suffer injury, you may recover worker’s compensation if your employer is a worker’s compensation subscriber, but you may also have a third-party claim against the company that manufactured the chair.
Customers can also give rise to third-party claims. For example, if you’re working at a grocery store collecting shopping carts from the parking lot and were struck and injured by a customer’s car door, you could potentially pursue a third-party claim against that customer if the facts support such a claim.
If you bring a third-party liability suit against a person or other entity that may have caused your injury, you’ll need to prove negligence, fault, or other wrongful acts or omissions on the part of the defendant. You’ll need to establish the duties of the third party, their failure to meet them, causation, and damages. In product claims, however, you may only have to prove that the product was defective and caused harm.
Occasionally, your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer may have a subrogation interest in a third-party claim and may sue on your behalf to recover money the insurer spent covering your worker’s compensation claim.
Injuries often have hidden or delayed health impacts that can take a long time to manifest. That’s why it’s wise to pursue compensation if you are injured, not just to compensate you for injuries, but also to help you prepare for any unexpected costs related to the injury. Third-party liability and worker’s compensation claims are complex matters and require the attention of attorneys with experience in recovering compensation for workers hurt on the job.
Johnson Garcia LLP is a Houston, TX firm with years of experience in personal injury, insurance coverage, and business dispute cases. For workers who have suffered workplace injuries, Johnson Garcia LLP can help you in recovering compensation.