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How do third-party lawsuits tie to workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

New Jersey law provides a no-fault system for workers’ compensation benefits. The law provides protections for both workers and employers. An employee could file a claim without any requirements to prove negligence, and the employer garners some protections against lawsuits. Third parties that contribute to the injury receive no such protections.

The nature of third-party workers’ compensation lawsuits

A worker could suffer an injury or an illness due to the negligence of a party other than a primary employer. For example, a contractor that visits the job site or routinely works at the employer’s location might face a lawsuit if liable for the harm. A contractor may perform repair and maintenance duties at the work location. A shoddy repair job could hurt someone, opening doors to a workers’ compensation case. The contractor may face a lawsuit for its role in the injury, while the employer might not face any negligence claims.

Since several parties may factor into a negligence suit, third-party claims could extend to several parties. Not everyone may be equally responsible for the injury, but all negligent parties might face litigation.

Other issues of concern

Third-party negligence claims may also involve insurance companies. A contractor’s liability insurance could cover specific claims against it. In certain situations, a lawsuit against the insurance company might be necessary, such as when the insurer refuses to adhere to its terms or when it incorrectly claims no negligence occurred.

A point worth noting centers on deliberate employer action. If a manager, co-worker, or another person affiliated with the company purposely hurts someone, options to file for workers’ compensation and a lawsuit may be possible. An injured employee could discuss lawsuit options based on “intentional wrongs” with an attorney.

Also, an employer may dispute the claim, setting a course for legal challenges. Denials of initial worker’s compensation claim might not end things. The claimant could explore an appeal with an attorney’s assistance.

Filing for workers’ compensation may require appeals and involve a third-party lawsuit. Injured workers could discuss their cases with an attorney.