Law Office of James M. Hoffmann Articles Difference Between Workers Compensation Vs. Third Party Liability

Difference Between Workers Compensation Vs. Third Party Liability

By James Hoffmann  May. 23, 2019 12:11p

If you’re filing a claim for workers compensation and are faced with a third party, it refers to any other company, individual, or entity other than your employer that may have been involved in your accident.

Sometimes, your employer may not be the liable party for your work accident. For example, if a delivery worker is bitten by a dog while on the job, they may be entitled to workers compensation because they were on the job, but there is also a third party (the dog owner) who may be liable for their injuries. The same principle applies if the delivery worker’s vehicle malfunctions, causing an accident. The employer may not have contributed to the accident, but liability may fall to the vehicle manufacturer.

How to Separate the Two

Under Missouri law, you are entitled to workers compensation benefits to cover the costs of medical treatment for injuries or illnesses caused by your work. The benefits are calculated to also account for any lost wages if you have to take time off to recover.

When you apply for these benefits, you essentially waive the right to sue your employer for negligence in case something goes wrong in the line of duty. However, if the cause of the accident is the third party, then you can file a personal injury claim against the said party, and possibly get additional benefits.

The settlement from the workers’ compensation case and the ones from the personal injury claim are independent and do not influence one another. You can still sue or file a claim against a third party, even if you’ve filed a workers compensation claim with your employer.

One key element here that differentiates the two is the question of negligence. When it comes to workers compensation, negligence does not have to be proven to get the benefits. However, in personal injury cases, you will have to prove the third party was, in fact, negligent to be awarded the benefits.

That requires proof the third party’s actions directly caused the accident, and therefore your injuries. Regardless of whether you file a claim with the third party’s insurance company, or intend to file a lawsuit, you will still have to provide the evidence that proves the third party’s liability.

Why Speak With a Lawyer?

In workers compensation cases where third parties may be involved, it’s best to reach out to a St. Louis workers compensation lawyer for assistance. They can help you determine whether a third party is liable for your injuries or illness, and what your best legal options are to get compensated.

A lawyer can also help negotiate a fair settlement, both for compensation benefits, and the personal injury claim. Insurance companies often try to lower the amount of compensation they give to plaintiffs, but an experienced attorney can help ensure you get the benefits you are legally entitled to.

Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4300 for a FREE case evaluation.

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