Workers’ compensation cases provide payment for 2/3 of lost wages up to a maximum number of weeks and for reasonable medical expenses. They don’t pay the remaining 1/3 of the lost wages and they don’t pay for any weeks over the maximum. There are also caps on the amount of weekly wages. Workers’ compensation also doesn’t pay for any pain and suffering and doesn’t pay for property damage. As a general rule, the employer can’t be sued even if the employer was responsible for the workplace accident.
A good workers’ compensation lawyer will seek to find other remedies for his client if they are available. One remedy is to explore whether any third parties can be sued. Third parties would be people or companies that aren’t the employee or the employer. In the right case, there can be a third-party claim against another company (not the employer) whose negligence caused the employee’s injuries. Also, independent contractors who can’t get workers’ compensation benefits because they’re not an employee can still sue responsible third parties.
Third party product liability claims
If the cause of the injury was a faulty product such as machines that didn’t work, then the companies involved in the design, manufacture, and sale of the product can be sued.
Third party negligence claims
Even if the product design was not the cause of the injury, other factors may have contributed to the worker’s injuries. The installer of the equipment may have done so negligently. The property owner (other than the employer) may have failed to repair known problems in the floor or walkways. Subcontractors may not have done their job correctly. All third parties who owe a duty to the employee can be held accountable for their negligence.
If the employee was injured in a vehicle accident, whether the accident happened at work or not, then the employee can sue anyone responsible for the accident.
All this being said, particularly in Virginia there are complicated exclusionary laws preventing some third-party suits that require expert navigation to overcome.
Whether you were injured at work or through the fault of someone else, Norfolk workers’ compensation attorney Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., can help you fight for a just recovery. He’s helped thousands of workers’ compensation and personal injury victims in North Carolina and in Virginia over the past 25 years, and he’s recovered millions of dollars for victims of industrial accidents. He’ll review your case with you, talk to witnesses, use experts when needed, negotiate with insurance adjustors, and try your case in court when needed. Discuss your case with him today by calling (888) 694-1671.