When you have been hurt on the job, you have the right to seek benefits under workers’ compensation laws. It’s important to understand, though, that the workers’ compensation laws only apply to injuries caused by the negligence or your employer or a co-employee. If you are injured by the wrongful acts of a third party, you can file a lawsuit in court to recover damages and you won’t be limited or restricted by your workers’ compensation recovery.
Here are common examples of third-party claims filed by injured workers:
- Product liability claims—A worker may be hurt because a product or machine is poorly designed or malfunctions. It could be a tool or piece of equipment, or it could be a vehicle component. The product defect can be in design, manufacture or even in the marketing, if the product is held out for certain purposes that are dangerous.
- Wrongful acts by persons other than the employer—The negligence or carelessness of a delivery person, customer, vendor or similar person is not limited by workers’ compensation laws. The driver of another vehicle (provided that it’s not a company car driven by a co-employee) could be liable on a third party claim. A third party who creates a dangerous situation, leaving debris on a site or negligently operating a crane, earth mover, dump truck or other machine, can also be taken to court in a lawsuit for damages.
- Injuries caused by exposure to toxic substances—So-called toxic tort claims generally fall outside of workers’ compensation limitations, unless the substance was manufactured by your employer.
In most states, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can file a claim in court and won’t be limited to the recovery set forth in the workers’ compensation laws. In addition, if your employer intentionally causes you injury, you can typically circumvent the limitations of the workers’ compensation laws.
Contact the Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been hurt in a work-related accident. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-780-0230 for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.