When the topic of workers compensation is brought up, most people think of the construction industry, factory work, or some other inherently dangerous occupation. In reality, a serious job related injury could occur to persons working in the most acquiescent of environments. Any employee who is injured on the job should be covered by workers compensation, provided by his or her employer. As the name implies, workers compensation provides the replacement of lost wages for injured workers who are unable to perform their jobs. In addition it provides their employers protection against a lawsuit resulting from the injury. What it does not provide is long-term financial recovery, payment of medical bills not covered by insurance and compensation for pain and suffering. In many cases, workers compensation leaves a worker with no options for recovering a cash settlement for his or her injuries, above the limitations. But in many cases, injured workers have options of which they are often unaware.
Third Party Claims
When a work related injury is a least partially the fault of another party, company or entity, the workers compensation case may become a hybrid of sorts. For example, an office worker is taking a quick trip to a common restroom in a building where the employer is a tenant. They slip and fall on a wet floor that was not marked with an appropriate warning sign. They injure their back and can no longer perform their job. This may seem like a simple, on the job, slip and fall, but it is far from simple. Who left the water and detergent on the floor causing the fall? Did a maintenance company or the building management leave it? If the worker was on a break was he or she performing their job? This claim would be one that the workers compensation insurance company may be likely to deny. If legal counsel did not represent the injured worker, they may never receive any workers compensation and never know that there was a third party liability claim that could be filed.
The Need for a Workers Compensation Lawyer
The workers compensation attorneys at Vititoe Law Group have represented countless injured workers who have had valid claims against third parties for their injuries in conjunction with their workers compensation cases. These third parties may include a sub-contractor, a property owner or manager, a product manufacturer, a medical care provider or a faulty driver. Vititoe Law Group has the resources needed to thoroughly investigate every case to determine the best cause of action. The lawyer is familiar with all the possible third parties responsible for your injuries.
Third party workers compensation claims fall into several categories including:
· Negligent Maintenance – Workers may be injured from improperly maintained property without adequate warning or visibility or defective or poorly maintained equipment such as machinery or vehicles.
· Construction Sites – These are inherently dangerous places where many different contractors and sub-contractors are present at the same time. Proving to that OSHA or ANSI standards were violated in these cases is paramount to their success.
· Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries – Driving as part of a job, a worker may be injured by an at fault driver. It is important to consider the burden of liability of each of the insurance company for the driver and the business.
· Product Liability – Many different types of machinery and equipment as well as power tools may injure workers. These include cutting machinery, punches and presses, conveyors, welding equipment, drills, saws, nail guns etc. These items must be preserved and inspected by an expert to determine if there were any defects or malfunctions that led to an accident.
· Defective Medical Devices and Medical Malpractice – An injured worker may be injured further by the same care that was intended to be beneficial. Defective or improperly implanted joint replacements, medical devices or improper medication may lead to revision surgeries, adverse reactions or further debilitation.
It is important to know that in many states, including California, the law provides your employer the right to be reimbursed for the amount paid to you under workers compensation, if money is recovered from a third party. This section of the Labor Code is in place to prevent collecting twice for a single injury or “double-dipping. ”
Your attorney will know how much to seek from a third party to recover enough in punitive damages to repay your employer, while leaving you enough to cover a lifetime of care. Weighing the options involving third party claims requires detailed legal analysis. The experienced attorneys at Vititoe law are skilled in the ability to balance the pros and cons of a third party claim and help decide the best option for you.
If you were injured on the job, reach out to Vititoe Law Group today for a free evaluation of your case. Do not wait as recent evidence and witnesses are critical to your case.