I Have a Virginia Work Comp Case: What is Third-Party Liability?
Third party liability exists when someone not working for the employer causes the injury. For example, you may be a construction worker working on the same job site as other contractors. Let’s say an electrician is working there and leaves a live wire exposed. You are electrocuted, causing serious burns, muscle damage, and heart issues.
This is the perfect example of third-party liability because the electrician was not an employee of your employer.
But it doesn’t stop there when it comes to third-party liability. There are different ways that it can happen. Some of the ways are:
- Car accidents in a company vehicle or while being paid to be on the road performing work-related tasks. The person who caused the car accident is a liable third-party.
- Defective products. Perhaps a certain tool or device is defective due to faulty manufacturing, which makes the manufacturer liable for the injuries.
- A delivery truck driver may have an accident while pulling into the bay of a warehouse, causing warehouse workers to be injured.
- A substance made by a third-party company could be toxic and not contain the proper warnings, causing workers to become injured or later develop occupational diseases.
- Co-worker negligence can be considered third-party when the co-worker causes injuries willfully or through gross negligence. Co-worker assault is a good example.
- There are many more scenarios that can be played out to describe the different ways in which a person can file a third-party liability lawsuit against a person or company.
Generally, you can’t sue the employer when an injury is sustained on the job. This is why workers’ comp exists, but there are some exceptions to this rule.
The first exception is when the employer doesn’t carry the state mandated workers’ comp insurance. If that’s the case, you can file a lawsuit against them to cover the damages. You could sue for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and out-of-pocket expenses. Something to keep in mind is that there is a special fund the state has set aside to help injured employees whose employers do not carry the mandatory workers’ comp coverage. This is mainly available to uninsured injured workers who are deemed eligible, but it may not pay the same amount in benefits that standard workers’ comp pays.
The second exception is when the injury is the result of the employer’s gross negligence. Even if the employer carries workers’ comp insurance, you could sue them. Of course, you have to have adequate proof that they were grossly negligent for this to work, but there have been employees that have successfully sued their employers for damages.
The third exception is employer assault. Employers are not protected by workers’ compensation insurance if they assault an employee. The no-fault limitation of workers’ comp is gone in this case. The exception to this exception is when the employer strikes an employee in self-defense. If an employee is injured because of the self-defense actions of the employer, workers’ comp can completely deny coverage for that employee’s injuries.
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Contact us today to schedule your first consultation. At this appointment, we will discuss your specific case and the hurdles we must overcome to get you your benefits. We will navigate the process for you, making it easy to understand. Contact us today!