When someone gets hurt at work due to an employer’s negligence, generally their first option for justice and relief is workers’ compensation. 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 Chicago understands that people injured on the job face many difficult decisions. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of workplace injury cases. We also strive for all of our clients to receive full compensation for their injuries. Call us 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 workers’ compensation benefits, you can still file a personal injury claim against the third-party responsible.
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 Fall Injuries
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 Moving Tools or Machinery
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, general scrapes or gashes, and more.
Car Accident Injuries
There are numerous ways that someone can get hurt in a car accident. For example, a driver can hit a victim with their car or run over a victim. Additionally, a victim 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 including broken bones, scrapes, bruising, gashes, head injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, severed limbs, and even wrongful death.
Fire and Explosion Injuries
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
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 in relation to work.
Temporary Total Disability: this is when a victim is completely unable to work for a few weeks to a few months.
Temporary Partial Disability: this is when a victim can perform some job duties, but not all, for a few weeks to a few months.
Permanent Total Disability: this is when a victim is permanently disabled and can’t go back to work.
Permanent Partial Disability: this 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 Workplace Injuries?
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 makers, and property owners.
Contractors or Subcontractors
Many jobs have contractors and subcontractors working alongside employees. Common examples of this include construction sites, coal mines, oil drilling sites, and more. An injured employee 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. If a stranger causes a car accident, then the crash victim can file a negligent 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. 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
A work accident lawyer Chicago will aggressively seek maximum compensation available under Illinois workers’ compensation. However, additional compensation is available for third-party liability.
If an employee gets hurt at work, they can utilize a type of insurance called workers’ compensation that provides wage replacement and medical benefits. But there’s a catch. If an injured employee utilizes workers’ compensation benefits, they can no longer sue their employer for negligence.
What’s Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation covers 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 workers’ compensation. 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’ compensation doesn’t cover injuries caused solely by intoxication.
Horseplay: if an employee injures themselves by boisterously playing around, workers’ compensation 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 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 receive damages for pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of companionship. Additionally, using workers’ compensation doesn’t hold an employer accountable for an employee injury. By filing a third-party liability claim, victims can receive compensation for all monetary and non-monetary damages they suffered. Victims can also hold their employer accountable through a third-party liability claim.
How to Prove a Third-Party Liability Claim
It’s generally harder to prove a third-party workplace accident compared to workers’ compensation claims. 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 the other party was negligent 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
A work accident lawyer Chicago can help you collect enough evidence to prove these claims.
What Damages Can I Recover with a Third-Party Liability Claim?
As mentioned previously, injured employees can only recover some of their lost wages and medical bills with workers’ compensation. However with negligent third-party lawsuits, injured people can generally recover:
Call a Work Accident Lawyer Chicago
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a workplace or industrial accident, contact a work accident lawyer Chicago at Curcio Law Offices. Schedule a free consultation with us today at 312-321-1111.