Like most of your neighbors in Minnesota, you pride yourself on your work ethic. After all, you bring dedication and skill with you to the job site every day. Of course, if you sustain an injury at work, you may not be able to provide for yourself and your family. Even worse, you could have a long-term disability that prevents you from ever working again.
With most work-related injuries, filing a workers’ compensation claim is the best course of action. That is, the system usually provides compensation without requiring individuals to prove fault. In some cases, though, someone other than an employer or worker bears responsibility for injuries. In these situations, filing a third-party suit may be an effective strategy for ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
With a third-party suit, you show that someone other than you or your employer contributed to the injuries you sustained at work. Generally, though, the responsible person in a third-party action is not your boss, supervisor or co-worker. Instead, it is another person or entity that caused your injury. For example, you may choose to seek compensation from the manufacturer of defective safety gear.
The workers’ compensation system is decidedly basic. While your work injury may cause you to have a variety of damage, workers’ compensation usually only covers lost wages, medical expenses and rehabilitation costs. That is, you cannot receive payments for your pain and suffering, lost consortium or mental anguish. The workers’ compensation system also does not provide for punitive damages. With a third-party suit, you may be able to maximize the compensation you receive.
Even if you would rather not file a third-party suit, one may happen. Under a subrogation theory, your employer may choose to hold someone else responsible for your injuries. In that case, your employer may ask whoever caused your injuries to cover its workers’ compensation payments.
A work-related injury can stop you in your tracks. Fortunately, by taking advantage of the workers’ compensation system, you receive payments for your lost wages and medical bills. If someone other than your employer was responsible for your injury, though, filing a third-party suit may be an effective way to move on with your life.