Texas employees generally have two options for recovering payment after a work injury: they can pursue a worker's compensation claim, or sue their employer if the employer does not have worker's compensation insurance. However, there is a third option that is available in some cases. If an employee is injured at work by someone other than the employer, the employee can file what is called a “third-party" claim.
Who Can File a Third Party Work Injury Claim?
Any worker can file a third-party injury claim if someone other than the employer is responsible for the injury. For example, imagine a worker is injured while working for an employer who has workers’ compensation insurance. Worker's compensation law generally prohibits employees from suing employers (and other employees of the same employer) after an injury. However, the law does allow injured workers to pursue claims against third parties. As an added bonus, the worker can still receive workers’ compensation benefits while he or she pursues a third-party injury claim for the same incident (although if the third-party claim is successful, the worker's compensation insurance carrier has a right of subrogation against the settlement).
Similarly, employees who work for Texas non-subscriber employers can file a lawsuit against the employer and can also hold a third party liable for injuries in the workplace. Additionally, employers who do not subscribe to worker's compensation may be sued for pain and suffering damages, further increasing potential awards. It is important to speak with a non-subscriber injury attorney to determine all potential claims for the maximum possible recovery.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Third Party Injury Claim?
Nearly any person or entity can be subject to a third-party claim as long as it is someone other than the employer whose negligence played a part in the accident. For example, parties who may be named in a third-party work injury claim include:
- Product manufacturers. One of the most common third-party claims involves faulty tools or equipment made by someone other than your employer. Ladders, cranes, protective gear, nail guns, forklifts, alarm systems, and many other malfunctioning items can form the basis of a third-party claim.
- Maintenance companies. Many work environments rely on outside companies to perform regular maintenance on machinery and equipment in the workplace. If an employee was injured while operating a machine that was maintained by a third party, you may have a right to file an injury suit against that third party.
- Drivers and operators. If a worker is injured in a motor vehicle accident or another heavy machinery incident, the worker may pursue a claim against the at-fault driver or operator who is not employed by the same company.
- Contractors. Workers from many different employers often work side-by-side on the same job site. A negligent employee from a different employer (such as an IT consultant, plumber, decorator, or other contractors) may be named in a third-party claim.
- Safety inspectors. A worker can file a third-party claim against a safety inspector if the accident or injury was a result of a poor, overdue, or incomplete inspection.
- Designers and engineers. Third parties may be responsible for the negligent design or construction of a building or equipment that later results in injury.
- Property owners. Some injuries are the result of working on unsafe premises that are owned by someone other than the employer.
Third-party work injury claims are often complex and involve a great deal of investigation into the details of the case and knowledge of the applicable laws. As a result, it is vital that an injury victim work closely with an experienced work injury lawyer to fully understand all the options. We can calculate the full costs of your losses, including how much your injury will cost you in the future and the pain and suffering you have endured, and we do not charge anything unless we win your case. Contact the Packard Law Firm today to tell us more about your case in your free, confidential consultation.