A workplace accident may not only be the responsibility of your employer. Third-party negligence may also be a factor.
What do we mean by “third party”? A third party refers to an entity or person who is not a co-worker or the business that hired you.
A third-party employee, for example, could be another worker at a warehouse you have been assigned to or a subcontractor operating at the same construction site.
Why Does Third-Party Status Matter?
When you are injured by a third party while on the job, you have the potential right to file two types of claims: one for workers’ compensation and one for personal injury. Personal injury claims allow injured persons to file for pain and suffering; workers’ compensation does not.
Types of Third-Party Claims
There are many ways a worker can become injured by another employee of a different company. It’s always best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer about the specific circumstances of a work injury case.
Work-Related Auto Accidents: Transportation incidents are the most common causes of occupational injuries and fatalities (nearly 2,000 workers died in auto accidents in 2021). People drive for work all the time for many different reasons. You could be a full-time driver who suffers an injury because a large truck ran a stoplight. Or a construction worker struck by the driver of a heavy-duty vehicle ignoring safety protocols. Since you were actively working, you can file a lawsuit against the employee/driver that caused the crash, in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim with your own employer.
Construction Accidents: Tradespeople such as electricians or carpenters who work for subcontractors might be working at a construction site. If a construction worker is injured or killed on the job because of the negligence of a subcontracted worker, this may be grounds for a third-party lawsuit.
Exposure to Toxic Substances: A worker exposed to a toxic substance may experience immediate injury, or their injuries may take years to appear. If their injuries were caused by the negligence of a third-party company that failed to properly maintain the machines and pipes containing harmful chemicals, then the injured worker can sue that company in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Workplace Violence: One way many people are injured in the workplace is through physical violence, assault, and homicide. A fight could break out, or a disgruntled employee might take out their frustration on anyone in the vicinity. According to OSHA, acts of violence are the third-leading cause of fatal workplace injuries in the U.S.
General Negligence: An employer may improperly train its employees, or an employee fails to follow safety practices, leading to a worker from a different company becoming injured. For example, an agency sends one of its employees to work at a warehouse. Despite having zero training, the warehouse supervisor tells the temporary employee to use a lift truck. Due to a lack of training and thought, an on-site employee leaves items at the corner of an aisle. The temporary employee tries to avoid the items but flips the lift truck, breaking their foot and suffering deep lacerations. In this case, the injured worker may not only file for workers’ compensation but also seek third-party damages for negligence.
It Pays to Talk to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Studies have shown that even just talking to a lawyer about your rights increases the amount of compensation received for a claim. That number triples for people who hire a lawyer to protect their case.
No matter how complex the legalities of third-party claims can be, you deserve justice. For more than 25 years, Gary Martin Hays & Associates has fought for injured workers hurt on the job in Georgia. Contact our law firm today to get the compensation you need. Call (770) 934-8000 for a free consultation with one of our expert Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys.