Workplace accidents are a common occurrence. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2019, more than 4,500 people died from workplace accidents and another 4.6 million employees suffered an on-the-job injury. In New Jersey alone, more than 69,000 workers were hurt on the job.
After a New Jersey workplace accident, injured employees will be able to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation to help them cover the costs related to the accident. Most people are familiar with a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation claims can provide payment of medical bills, income replacement benefits while you are out of work, and payment for partial or permanent disability. However, while workers’ compensation claims offer the above benefits, they do not allow injured workers to recover for pain and suffering, and in some instances, loss of earnings above the amount allowed by workers’ compensation or future loss of earnings. In some situations, an injured worker can also file a personal injury claim resulting from a workplace accident. These are referred to as third-party accident claims.
What Does a Third-Party Lawsuit Mean?
When a worker is hurt in New Jersey due to an on-the-job accident or has an injury or condition due to the WEAR and TEAR of the job, that person has a workers’ compensation claim regardless of fault. What that means is that whether the accident is the fault of the employee, a co-worker, or the employer, the injured worker can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits which is typically the sole remedy against his or her employer.
However, in many New Jersey workplace accidents, another person, business, or organization may have caused the worker’s injuries. In these situations, the injured worker can file a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
A third-party work accident claim is just like any other personal injury claim. To successfully bring a claim, an injured worker must show that another party’s negligence or fault caused their injuries. That other party cannot be the employer or co-employee. The following are examples of situations in which a third-party work accident claim may be appropriate:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Slip-and-fall accidents;
- Injuries caused by dangerous or defective products; and
- Construction site injuries.
Generally, an accident caused by any party other than an employer (or, in some cases, a co-worker) may be the basis for a New jersey third-party work injury claim.
Damages in a New Jersey Third-Party Work Accident Claim
Bringing a personal injury claim following a workplace accident requires an employee to prove another party was at fault. It is highly recommended that you work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney because these cases may have higher value than a workers’ compensation claim. The benefit of bringing a third-party work injury claim is that the injured worker may be more fairly compensated for their injuries. This is because personal injury claims allow injury victims to obtain pain and suffering damages as well as economic damages.
An employee who successfully brings a third-party injury claim can recover compensation for the following:
- Medical bills,
- Future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Decrease in earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different. The amount of damages available in a third-party workplace accident claim will vary from case to case. Those with questions about the recovery process should reach out to a New Jersey workplace accident lawyer.
It is also important to note that in New Jersey, the law says that an injured person cannot make a “double recovery.” Accordingly, under the law in New Jersey, two thirds of all benefits workers’ compensation paid on behalf of an injured employee must be reimbursed from any recovery made by the injured worker against the third party who is at fault. As such, it is extremely important that you discuss the potential for a third party claim with the attorney handling your workers’ compensation claim and that the claim, where applicable, is addressed by an attorney experienced in handling third party work-related accidents.
In addition, if the injured worker does not pursue a third party lawsuit against a party who was at fault for causing the worker’s injuries, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier can within one year make that claim itself to recover the money it has paid out to the worker. Typically, an attorney hired by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will not have the best interest of the injured worker at heart, making it more important to consider all available options when you are injured on the job and you think someone else may be at fault for causing your injuries. The most simple example is that the injured worker is driving a company truck when he or she is rear ended. The injured worker has a claim against his employer for workers’ compensation benefits. However, he or she also has a claim for pain and suffering and additional losses against the party who rear-ended him or her.
How Long Does a Third-Party Lawsuit Take?
The amount of time a third-party work injury takes to reach a settlement or jury verdict varies widely. The quickest way to resolve a third-party work accident claim is to reach an out-of-court agreement with the at-fault party and their insurance company.
However, injured workers should hesitate to accept an insurance company’s initial offer because these are often insufficient to fairly compensate them for their injuries. Injured workers can expedite the recovery process by working with a dedicated New Jersey workplace accident lawyer with experience negotiating and settling cases.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Workplace Injury Lawyer
If you suffered a workplace injury, contact the dedicated injury attorneys at the New Jersey law firm of Petro Cohen, P.C. for immediate assistance.
At Petro Cohen, P.C., we have a team of knowledgeable workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys who have decades of experience effectively handling a wide range of New Jersey workplace accident and personal injury claims. In addition to handling your workers’ comp claim, our workers’ compensation team can guide you on whether or not you may have a third party claim, which you might not otherwise know without their experience and expertise. The workers’ comp team will work seamlessly with the personal injury attorneys at the firm to ensure you receive the medical treatment you need and all of the compensation to which you may be entitled.
When you call to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, we will answer all your questions, so that you can feel confident in your decision, whatever you decide to do. Your initial consultation is free and confidential, and we do not collect any money unless we are successful at winning your case.
Throughout the process, we will work with you every step of the way, working tirelessly on your behalf to bring your case to a successful close. By handling all of the details of the case, it is our hope that you will be able to focus on what matters most – getting better!
We encourage you to take a moment to read what our clients have to say about their experience with the attorneys at Petro Cohen by viewing the many Client Testimonials located on our Web site.
For your convenience, we have four office locations in southern New Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Northfield, Hamilton, or Cape May Court House, and are available 24/7 via Live Chat.
To learn more and schedule your free case consultation with a Petro Cohen, P.C. workers’ comp or personal injury attorney, call us at 888-675-7607. You can also contact us through our online form or via e-mail at info@PetroCohen.com
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