Under the New Jersey’s workers’ compensation statute, employees who suffer on-the-job injuries are entitled to benefits from their employer regardless of whether the employer was at fault in causing the accident or allowing it to occur, or even if the employee was at fault. With only limited exceptions, this no-fault system provides the exclusive remedy for employees to recover from their employers.
While workers’ compensation provides coverage for medical expenses, lost time from work, and loss of physical function from work related conditions, in many cases these benefits may not fully compensate injured employees for their losses. In these situations, employees may need to look elsewhere for compensation.
When is a Third Party Responsible for My Workplace Injuries?
When a third party is responsible for your injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the third party in addition to filing a claim with your employer for workers’ compensation. The following are some examples of possible third-party claims arising out of work-related incidents:
● A claim against a negligent driver in an auto accident
● A claim against a manufacturer for product defects (vehicles, tools, machinery, etc.)
● A claim against the building owner or maintenance company if you slip on an icy sidewalk or get hurt in a malfunctioning elevator
● A claim against a subcontractor on a construction site
● A claim against the assailant if you are assaulted during work hours
In each instance, the third party that is responsible for causing your injuries can be held liable for all of your losses. These include your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other types of financial and emotional damage. This claim is just like any other personal injury claim – it can be settled through insurance; or, if the responsible party isn’t willing to pay, you may need to go to trial.
While the law allows you to pursue compensation from all available sources, you are not permitted to retain duplicate payments. As a result, if you receive workers’ compensation and then subsequently win a settlement or verdict on your third-party claim, you are required to reimburse your employer for the amounts paid from any recovery you may get from the at-fault or negligent party. However, your court costs and attorney’s fees can be carved out of the amount you owe.
When you suffer an injury on the job, you should never assume that you are only entitled to workers’ compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you evaluate your case, identify the responsible parties, and pursue maximum compensation for your losses.
Speak with an Attorney about Your Work-Related Injuries
If you’ve been injured on the job, the attorneys at the New Jersey law firm of Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We regularly represent clients who have been injured in construction site accidents and other work-related incidents. To schedule a free consultation, call (888) 675-7607 or contact us online today.