Imagine that you are a delivery truck driver carrying a large load of cargo to your next destination. You are minding your business driving down a busy stretch of busy highway, trying to reach your destination in a timely but safe manner. Out of the blue, an oncoming motorist fails to see the approaching red light and careens into the back of your truck going well above the posted speed limit. The accident results in a hospital visit, a slipped disc, a sprained wrist and a strained neck muscle, which means that driving your delivery truck will not be happening in the near future. What will you do to make ends meet since you can’t work? How will you provide for your family? And can you still file a workers’ compensation claim?
Because the accident happened while you were on the clock at your job, your company’s workers’ compensation insurance policy should kick in to help provide benefits for the time that you are out of work. Your workers’ compensation claim should also get your medical costs covered. However, these benefits are often not enough to replace your income, which can put a financial strain on you and your family.
And what about the motorist who struck your truck? It was his or her failure to pay attention to the surrounding traffic and light system that caused this headache to happen in the first place. What should be done about that? Luckily, our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at Ted A. Greve and Associates in Atlanta are on hand to help you not only get you the optimal results from your workers’ compensation claim, but also to help you decide if a third-party lawsuit is in your best interest.
What is a third-party lawsuit in regards to workers’ compensation?
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, workers’ compensation is “an accident insurance program paid by your employer which may provide you with medical, rehabilitation and income benefits if you are injured on the job.” In the state of Georgia, a company with three or more employees is required to hold a workers’ compensation insurance policy to help cover the cost of medical bills and time out of work in case someone gets hurt on the job. Because of workers’ compensation policies, an individual cannot sue the company if an on-site injury happens. However, if a third party was involved (like the careless motorist in our example above), it is possible to sue that third party while also receiving benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation policy simultaneously. A third-party lawsuit is sometimes necessary because a workers’ compensation policy does not allow for benefits to be paid out because of pain and suffering, and the settlement might also not be quite enough to make ends’ meet.
What would qualify as a third-party accident that can lead to a lawsuit?
Like we mentioned in the above example, if someone that is unrelated to the company you work for is somehow involved in your accident, and your lawyer can prove that some type of negligence of that third party led to the occurrence, then a lawsuit can be filed. There are many different ways a third party can be involved in your workers’ compensation claim in Atlanta, GA. Below are a few examples:
- Car accidents while driving a company vehicle or while being paid to be traveling on the road – This relates to our example above, but can also be applied to salesman who travel throughout their region who are involved in car accidents and other related scenarios.
- Purposeful harm or negligence from a co-worker – While most times co-workers are exempt from third-party lawsuits, if that person assaults you or causes willful harm to you, then he or she can be held liable.
- Toxic substances made by third parties – If your workers’ compensation case resulted from a toxic substance that was inhaled, ingested or the like, and caused detrimental damage, the company who made the product can be held liable.
- Defective machinery, tools or devices – A manufacturer who made a defective product that was used in your workers’ compensation accident can be held responsible as a third party in a work-related case like this.
- Slips, falls and other injuries on someone else’s property – If there is a substance or an environmental factor that causes you to slip and fall on a property other than your job site, then this could be a potential cause for a third-party lawsuit.
How do I prove a third-party was at fault for my workers’ compensation claim?
Workers’ compensation claims and policies operate on a no-fault basis. This means that to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you only have to prove that you were injured on the job, not that someone’s negligence was to blame. However, in order to file a third-party lawsuit, some type of negligence of the other party should be proven. To establish liability on the other person’s part, there should be proof of the following:
- An accident occurred that resulted in your injury
- The accident was caused by a third party who was somehow demonstrating negligence in his, her or the company’s actions
- There were injuries sustained that need to be compensated (physical, emotional, pain and suffering, time out of work, etc.)
- The injuries sustained were a direct cause of the accident
When should I contact an Atlanta lawyer for my workers’ compensation claim?
If you suspect you have cause to file a third-party lawsuit in relation to your workers’ compensation claim, our lawyers at Ted A. Greve and Associates in Atlanta will be happy to meet with you for a consultation and talk about your options. Our skilled and efficient legal representatives want to be there with you throughout each step of your process. After a potentially life-altering accident, it is important to us that you not only receive your workers’ compensation benefits, but that you also get the care, justice and compensation you deserve from unfair accidents such as these. Contact us today to set up a consultation.