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Michael J. Duber and Brandon T. Duber

Third party actions can complicate workers’ compensation claims

Nov 8, 2021 |

Workplace injuries are common in Ohio. When someone suffers one while on the job, they may worry about the future. They may have concerns about how their body will heal and how they will provide for their family as they recover. They may worry about the financial impact of their injury on themselves and their loved ones and how they will get back to work.

Many workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits when they suffer accidents and injuries on the job. When an employer is responsible for a worker’s injury and losses, workers’ compensation can provide the injured worker with the financial support they need to recover and return to work. However, workplace injuries can be caused by third parties and not employers, creating questions as to how workers may recover their damages.

What is a third-party workplace injury?

A third-party workplace injury is an injury caused while a victim is at work but not by or because of the actions of their employer.

For example, an individual working on a road crew may have sufficient equipment and protection provided to them from their employer to remain safe while on the job. However, a reckless driver who crashes through barriers, ignoring signage, and strikes a worker who is on the crew may still cause that worker serious injuries and losses that prevent them from doing their job.

Similarly, a worker may be injured on the job due to a design or manufacturing defect that is unrelated to the operations of their employer. Whenever the actions or omissions of a third party cause a worker to suffer harm while on the job, that worker should understand they may have rights to seek compensation for their losses.

How does a worker address a third-party injury?

Third-party workplace injuries present interesting twists to standard workers’ compensation cases. That is because victims of third-party accidents often can sue the individuals or entities that caused their harm directly for personal injury damages. These types of claims occur outside of workers’ compensation and may be suitable for victims whose workplace injuries were not caused by their employers.

However, securing damages from a personal injury lawsuit can take time. Workers may still be eligible to seek workers’ compensation benefits because of their losses, but in time they may be required to pay them back if their personal injury litigation compensates them.

After suffering a third-party workplace injury, a victim is encouraged to speak with a trusted workers’ compensation lawyer about their claims so that their rights and options for compensation are protected.