THIRD-PARTY PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM IN CHICAGO
Chicago Third-Party Workplace Injuries
When someone gets hurt at work due to an employer’s negligence, generally their first option for justice and relief is through a workers’ compensation claim. But what happens when you’re injured by a third-party at work? Unfortunately, worker’s compensation isn’t always the best option for third-party liabilities because it doesn’t provide both monetary and non-monetary benefits. So what other options are available for those injured by a third-party at work? At Curcio Law Offices, a work accident lawyer understands that people injured on the job face many difficult decisions. Our attorneys are well-equipped to handle any third-party personal injury claim. We strive for every injured worker to receive full compensation for their medical expenses and pain and suffering. A Chicago work accident lawyer is ready to start an attorney-client relationship with you. Call our law firm today at 312-321-1111 for a free consultation.
What is a Third-Party Workplace Accident?
A third-party workplace accident, also called a third-party liability, happens when someone gets hurt by a person or company that’s not associated with their employer. Even if you receive benefits from workers’ compensation insurance, you can still file a personal injury claim against the at-fault third-party.
Common Causes of Third-Party Work Injuries
Some of the most common causes of third-party workplace injuries are slip and falls, getting caught in moving machinery, car accidents, fires, explosions, and construction site injuries.
Common Work-Related Injuries
Employees can suffer a wide range of third-party work injuries depending on the type of injury, the environment, and the people or machinery involved.
Slip and falls are one of the three leading causes of work-related injuries according to NSC Injury Facts. Victims can suffer broken bones, cuts, sprains, pulled muscles, or head, back, and neck injuries.
Injuries caused by heavy machinery are very common in factories or construction sites. Common injuries caused by heavy machinery include crushed hands, crushed arms, severed fingers, blindness, intercostal muscle strain injuries, general scrapes or gashes, and more.
There are numerous ways that a third party personal injury claim can involve a car accident. For example, a driver who is not associated with the victim’s work can hit them or run them over. Additionally, a victim can get hurt by falling out of a car or by getting crushed by an overturned car. A victim can suffer a wide variety of injuries in third party claims like this including broken bones, scrapes, bruising, gashes, head injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, severed limbs, and even wrongful death.
Injuries from fires and explosions can be extensive depending on the severity of the event. There are generally four types of injuries associated with fires and explosions.
- Primary Blast: This happens because of pressure on the body, and often affects the ears, lungs, and digestive system. Specifically, a victim can suffer blast lungs, abdominal hemorrhage, eye rupture, and concussions.
- Secondary Blast: This happens when flying objects hit people and can result in debris penetrations, eye penetrations, broken bones, head injuries, severe bruising, extensive burns, and large gashes.
- Tertiary Blast: This happens when the force of a blast throws someone. Tertiary blasts can result in broken bones, amputations, brain injuries, extensive burns, paralyzation, severe bruising, internal organ damage, and more.
- Quaternary Blast: This refers to any explosion-related injuries, illnesses, or diseases that aren’t caused by primary, secondary, or tertiary blasts. Quaternary blasts can cause burns, crush injuries, brain injuries, asthma, COPD, angina, hyperglycemia, or hypertension.
Construction site injuries are another common third-party claim. This is because sites generally include different people from different companies. Common construction site injuries include burns, electrocution, eye injuries, broken bones, knee and ankle injuries, head and spine injuries, and more.
The Four Categories of Disability
Depending on the severity of a third-party injury, some victims may suffer long-term disabilities. There are four categories of disability that are recognized by the workers compensation system.
- Temporary Total Disability is when a victim is completely unable to work for a few weeks to a few months.
- Temporary Partial Disability is when a victim can perform some job duties, but not all, for a few weeks to a few months.
- Permanent Total Disability is when a victim is permanently disabled and can’t go back to work.
- Permanent Partial Disability is when a victim is permanently disabled, but they are still able to do at least some of their job duties.
What Kind of Third Parties are Responsible for a Workplace Injury?
There are numerous careers that are inherently dangerous. But some careers are dangerous solely because of an employer’s negligence. Third-parties can be negligent as well, including contractors, drivers, product manufacturers, and property owners.
Many jobs have contractors and subcontractors working alongside employees. Common examples of this include construction sites, coal mines, oil drilling sites, and more. Someone who suffers a work-related injury can sue one of these workers or companies if they are responsible.
Car accidents are very common for employees who drive a lot for their jobs, such as Amazon truck drivers, UPS drivers, 18 wheeler drivers, etc. If a stranger causes a car accident, then the truck driver could potentially recover fair compensation in a third party lawsuit.
Third-party accidents caused by defective products or machinery are common in construction, manufacturing, coal, and oil industries. If a defective product injures someone at work, they can undoubtedly file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Lastly, third-party accidents can happen if an employee works on an off-site property. In this situation, the property owner is responsible for making sure everyone is safe on the job site. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. As a result, property owners can be subject to a premises liability claim following an injury.
Legal Recourse Options
If a work-related accident happened due to a third party’s negligence, injured workers can receive justice through a variety of legal recourse options. A Chicago work accident lawyer will aggressively seek maximum compensation available under Illinois workers’ comp benefits. However, additional compensation is available through third party claims.
If an employee gets hurt at work, they can utilize their employer’s or company’s workers compensation insurance carrier. Most times, a workers compensation case can provide medical treatment and wage replacement benefits.
But there’s a catch. If an injured employee utilizes workers’ compensation benefits, they can no longer sue for employer negligence.
What’s Not Covered by Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits cover a wide range of dangerous incidents on company property or time. But what does workers’ compensation not cover?
- Driving to or From Work: An employee injured while driving to or from work isn’t covered by the workers’ compensation system. A couple of exceptions include if an employee’s job requires them to drive or if an employee is driving a company car.
- Intoxication: Workers’ comp benefits don’t cover injuries caused solely by intoxication.
- Horseplay: If an employee injures themselves by boisterously playing around, workers’ compensation benefits won’t cover the injury. However, if the person who’s rough-housing injures another employee, they can use workers’ compensation.
- Intentional Acts: If an employee intentionally injures themselves, workers’ compensation won’t cover their injury.
- Illegal Activity: Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover injuries caused by illegal activities at the workplace.
- Policy Violations: Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover injuries caused by violating company policies.
- Terminated Employees: Terminated employees aren’t covered by workers’ compensation unless the injury happened before termination.
Third Party Liability Claim
In some cases, injured employees can use workers’ compensation in third-party workplace accidents. The downside of workers’ compensation is that victims can’t recover compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of companionship. Additionally, using workers’ compensation doesn’t hold an employer accountable for an workplace injury. By filing a third-party lawsuit, victims can receive compensation for all monetary and non-monetary damages they suffered. Victims can also hold their employers accountable through third-party lawsuits.
How to Prove a Third Party Claim
It’s generally harder to prove a third-party claim than a workers’ compensation claim. This is because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system and all you have to prove is that you got hurt at work. Meanwhile in a third-party claim, you have to prove that the third party caused the workplace injury in some way. Therefore, you must prove:
- The third-party owed you a duty of care.
- The third-party breached the duty of care.
- You suffered injuries as a result of the breach.
- You suffered financial losses as a result of your injuries. Therefore, you deserve financial recovery.
A Chicago work accident lawyer can help you collect enough evidence to prove these claims.
What Damages Can I Recover With a Third Party Claim?
As mentioned previously, an injured worker can only recover some of their lost wages and medical bills with workers’ compensation. However with negligent third-party lawsuits, injured workers can generally recover damages for:
- Lost wages
- Future lost income
- Past and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Diminished quality of life
- Punitive damages
- Permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement