What are third-party liability claims?
In a workers’ compensation case where there is another entity, other than the employer, who contributed to the injuries of the employee, this is a third party; and a third-party liability claim is a claim made by the employee against this third party.
An example of a third-party liability claim would be a delivery truck driver in an auto accident where the other person was at-fault. The truck driver can pursue a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company of his or her employer (the injury occurred in the scope of employment), and can also pursue a third-party liability claim with the at-fault driver.
Another example of a third-party liability claim would be an employee working on a machine that has a defective part, ultimately leading to injury. Because the injury occurred in the scope of employment, there is a workers’ compensation claim. Because the injury was caused by a defective part, produced by a third party, there is a third-party liability claim, too.
The Primary Difference
The primary difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability claim is in the purpose of each. Workers’ compensation provides financial compensation and medical coverage for any and all injuries related to employment. The employee agrees not to pursue a lawsuit in exchange for these guaranteed benefits. Workers’ compensation will not cover long term income loss, permanent disability, or pain and suffering. A third-party liability claim, on the other hand, is entirely separate from workers’ compensation and more damages can be recovered.
Third-Party Liability Claims Process
If you wish to pursue a claim against a third-party, you need to file the claim against his or her insurance company or file a lawsuit. The workers’ compensation claim will not affect your third-party liability claim. You will need to prove that the third party was negligent, that he or she owed ad duty of care to you, breached that duty, and thus caused your injuries and damages. An attorney will be able to represent you and will work to prove the validity of your claim.
What Are Subrogation Claims?
Subrogation claims are those made by the employer’s insurance company to recoup the payments that they have made when you file a third-party liability claim. This means that any settlement or judgment that you receive will have a lien on it to cover the payments already made by your employers workers’ compensation insurance. It also means that you and your employer must both agree on any potential settlement agreement. After reimbursing your employer and paying your attorney’s fees, you would receive the remainder of the award.
When a subrogation claim exists, the third-party liability claim can become more complicated and challenging to prove, and it is best to enlist the service of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to help you achieve a successful outcome.