When it comes to injury on the job, most people immediately think of workers’ compensation. Though filing a workers’ comp claim is a necessary first step, it is not always the only step in receiving fair compensation for injuries sustained at work. This is especially true if the injury was caused by someone other than an employer or co-worker. These injuries are classified as a third-party injury claim and may entitle you to workers’ compensation and damages in a personal injury case.
If the injury you received at work was caused by a third party, you may want to file a personal injury claim in addition to the workers’ comp case. If you live in Oregon and are looking to receive fair compensation for your injury, it may be in your best interest to hire a Portland personal injury attorney. Read below to understand the benefit of a personal injury attorney for your on-the-job injury.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Before delving into third-party injuries, it’s important to first understand workers’ compensation. Though each state has different laws regarding workers’ comp, the program is designed to protect employees from losses due to injury or illness obtained on the job.
Workers’ comp is a type of insurance that provides medical care as well as wage replacement for wages lost. It is a no-fault program, which means that you can still receive these benefits even if the accident was your fault. Typically, this program enables an employee to receive medical care and recovery from losses while protecting the employer from potential lawsuits.
Defining Third-Party Injury Claims
An employee may file a third-party claim in addition to the workers’ comp claim if the injury they received was caused by reckless or negligent behavior by someone other than their direct employer. This excludes an injury caused by a co-worker or supervisor with the same direct employer.
What can qualify for a third-party injury claim? Any accident that was caused by someone separate from your employer. This can include jobs that work with multiple organizations at the same time while on site. Certain industries use a variety of organizations on the jo site, such as construction sites and certain fields of entertainment. Within the construction industry, there may be a general contractor, subcontractor, property manager, as well as multiple companies that specialize in framing or finish carpentry.
Third-party injuries can also occur in situations that place the employee in contact with people outside of the jobsite. For example, if an employee is driving for their job and another driver on the road hits them, the employee can file for workers’ comp as well as sue the individual responsible for the accident. If the at-fault party was driving a company vehicle, they may even file a personal injury claim against the company. An injury can also be classified as third-party if it is caused when an employee visits another company or business as part of their job duties or occurs because of a defective tool or machinery.
These injuries can include, but are not limited to, car accidents, premise liability, slip and falls, and malfunctioning equipment. It can also include occupational disease, such as exposure to a gas leak or asbestos on the jobsite, leading to health complications.
Why File a Third-Party Claim?
In most cases, Oregon’s laws and statutes protect employers from suits being brought against them by an employee. However, Oregon law also allows an employee to file a personal injury case against a third party for out-of-pocket damages. Workers’ compensation can be minimal, while a third-party claim can cover out-of-pocket expenses, economic damages, pain, and suffering, as well as punitive damages. These can be pursued in addition to workers’ comp.
Benefits of Legal Representation
If you are a victim of a third-party injury, then you may need to file a personal injury claim. If this is the case, you may also need to seek representation from a Portland personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will have your best interests in mind while seeking compensation. Not only will they be your advocate, but they will also have the experience and understanding to prepare your claim and gather all necessary evidence to build a strong case.
Workers’ compensation is no-fault, which means fault does not have to be proven on the employer’s part in order to receive benefits. However, in a third-party injury case, the other party must be proven at fault in order for you to receive compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what evidence is necessary and will ensure you don’t miss any necessary paperwork or deadlines. There are certain time limitations depending on the claim. Hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is important to ensure you don’t miss out on compensation because you waited too long.
It’s also important to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced with both workers’ compensation law as well as personal injury law. These laws are technical and in a personal injury claim, a case could go to trial. If this is the case, you will want an experienced trial attorney as your advocate.
If you believe you can pursue a third-party injury claim, it’s important to take action immediately. While seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney, begin compiling as much data as possible surrounding your injury. This includes copies of receipts, medical bills, records of lost wages due to lost work, witnesses’ accounts and contact information, as well as written documentation of your symptoms and experiences. Continue to seek medical treatment and keep records of these visits.
When choosing a Portland personal injury attorney, consider our expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our firm offers legal representation and advice for people who have been affected by third-party injuries and helps them to receive compensation. Contact us today and we will help you receive the best resolution possible so you can focus on healing.