When a worker suffers an injury on the job, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim. These benefits are awarded without the need to prove an employer was at fault.
However, there are some cases where an injured worker can also file a third-party liability claim. “Third-party liability” is defined as a bodily injury caused to a person due to the negligence or recklessness of a third party’s actions or omissions.
How Can a Third Party Be At Fault?
Third-party liability arises when a person or entity that is separate from the employer causes an accident in the workplace. For example, if a worker is obligated to drive for work, and a drunk truck driver crashes into him, the worker can recover workers’ compensation benefits, as well as sue the truck driver and the trucking company for additional damages. Similarly, if a worker suffers injuries due to a defective product, he or she might be able to file a third-party claim against the product manufacturer.
Most workers’ compensation payments are minimal. It is possible that an injured worker may not be able to recover enough compensation to completely cover his or her medical bills and loss of income through workers’ comp alone. Furthermore, workers’ comp doesn’t cover pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages.
Proving Third-Party Negligence
To prove a third party’s negligence, the plaintiff must prove duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. However, if the plaintiff files a claim against a product manufacturer, there is a possibility to file a strict liability claim in which the product manufacturer can be held responsible by proving a defect was present and that it caused the plaintiff’s injury.