Third-Party Liability in Workers’ Compensation Cases
Even though you are not permitted to sue your employer if you are involved in a workplace accident, you are permitted to sue any third parties that were involved in your accident. If you think any third parties may be at fault in your workplace accident, you’ll want to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to better understand what you are entitled to in your case.
What Is Third-Party Liability?
Third-party liability refers to a scenario when you are involved in a workplace accident and injured as a result of a third party’s negligence. For example, if you are making a delivery in a company car during work and another car strikes you, that other car is a third party who is liable for your injuries. Or, if you are operating a forklift during work and injured when the forklift malfunctions, the company that manufactured the forklift is a third party who is liable for your injuries. In both of the above scenarios, you would be able to file a civil suit against the third party in addition to filing your workers’ compensation claim against your employer.
When Should I File a Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you believe a third party was responsible for your workplace accident, you should file a third-party personal injury lawsuit. While you are only able to recover for a limited scope of damages under Georgia workers’ compensation laws, you can recover for a much broader scope of damages under a traditional personal injury lawsuit. In addition to recovering damages for lost wages and medical bills, you can also recover for emotional distress, physical pain, loss of quality of life, and loss of earning capabilities in a personal injury lawsuit. Make sure you speak with your lawyer and inquire as to all the available options in your specific case.
How Can I Prove a Third Party Is Responsible for My Workplace Injuries?
In order to show third-party liability in a workers’ compensation case, you must show that (1) the third party owed you a duty, (2) the third party breached that duty, and (3) the breach of duty caused your injuries. Returning to the examples above, if you are struck by another vehicle while making deliveries in a company car in the course of your job, you would have to show that (1) the other driver owed you a duty of care that all drivers owe in maintaining safe roads, (2) the other driver violated their duty of care when they struck you, and (3) the other driver’s violation of their duty of car caused the accident and your injuries. Similarly, in the forklift example, you would have to show that the forklift company violated their duty to manufacture sturdy and functioning products when you fell off the malfunctioning forklift and suffered injuries.
You will want to find an experienced team of attorneys who are familiar with Georgia personal injury laws to help you with your case. We have that experienced team at Christopher Simon Attorney at Law and want to help you. Call us at 404-259-7635 today for your free consultation.