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Can You File a Personal Injury Claim in Addition to Workers’ Compensation?

October 4, 2017 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Workers injured on the job typically have a right to secure medical benefits and wage supplementation through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. As a no-fault insurance system, workers’ comp provides employees with benefits in lieu of negligence claims. This means that in most cases, workers’ comp provides the only pathway to compensation for injured workers, even if their accident and injuries were caused by their employer or their co-workers.

While workers’ comp can be a critical lifeline for injured employees, especially when they have suffered harms that prevent them from working and earning wages, it is not the only available path to compensation. In some situations, injured workers may be able to pursue personal injury claims against an at-fault party who is not their direct employer. As civil lawsuits, personal injury claims over work injuries are filed outside of the workers’ comp system.

Following any workplace accident or injury, it is important to work with experienced lawyers like those at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. who can help you determine if there is third party involvement in your case, and whether you may be entitled to bring a personal injury claim, which can provide additional compensation in the form of non-economic damages, including your pain and suffering and emotional injuries, not available through workers’ comp.

There are a few common scenarios when personal injury claims may be appropriate in work injury cases:

  • Defective Products – Workers in a variety of industries frequently use various tools, machines, and consumer products in the course of their job. When those products are defectively designed or defectively manufactured (such as when poor quality materials are used or when they are constructed with poor workmanship) and cause harm as a result, injured workers may have the opportunity to hold the manufacturer liable for their damages. These civil personal injury claims are based on product liability laws, and because they are often filed against large manufacturers and corporations, can be difficult cases that demand experienced legal representation.
  • Toxic Substances – Workers exposed to toxic substances in the course of performing job-related duties may have the ability to sue manufacturers of the hazardous material through civil lawsuits known as toxic torts. A common example of these types of claims involve exposure to asbestos and diseases like mesothelioma.
  • Dangerous Premises – When workers are harmed by dangerous conditions present on a property or site where they are performing work, there may be the option of pursuing personal injury claims based on premises liability laws. These laws require property owners to address and remedy hazardous conditions they knew or should have known about, such as open holes, wet or slippery floors, and more.
  • Negligent Third Parties – There may be a variety of instances when workplace accidents result from the negligence of a third party contracted to work with an employee’s company, such as a vendor or contractor. When these parties cause accidents through negligence, such as the negligent operation of a car or commercial vehicle, they may be held liable for damages suffered by victims.

Determining whether you have the option of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit following a workplace accident is a matter best handled by experienced lawyers. Should our legal team find that there was third party involvement in your case, we are prepared to leverage over 170 years of combined experience to help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call (713) 621-7944.