When you have been injured in the workplace, you have a right to pursue benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, workers’ compensation is often considered to be your “exclusive remedy” for injuries sustained on the job. That means you usually can’t file a lawsuit in court. There are, however, situations where you are not limited to seeking workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, under the right circumstances, you can simultaneously file a lawsuit in court and an application for workers’ compensation benefits. Here’s how it works.
The workers’ compensation laws were put in place to provide an alternative way to resolve claims involving the negligence of an employer or a co-worker. If, however, your injuries are caused, in whole or in part, by someone other than your employer or a co-employee, you are not limited to filing for payments under a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, you can file what’s known as a “third-party” claim for any losses suffered.
So what are the situations where you have a right to file a third party claim? Here are the most common:
- The person(s) who caused your injury do not work for your employer
- You are injured because of the malfunction of equipment, tools or machinery—If your company has tools or machinery that were carelessly designed or manufactured by a third party, you have the right to sue the third party for damages in a court of law
- You are injured in an automobile accident while in the course of your employment, and the other driver was neither your employer, nor a co-worker
Obviously, if you are injured in an accident involving both negligence by your employer or a co-worker and negligence by a third party, you can file a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit at the same time. You cannot, however, recover twice for the same loss. If your workers’ compensation benefits cover medical expenses, you can’t seek to recover the same medical expenses in a civil suit.
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.