Work-related accidents are common, and in many cases, they result from the acts and omissions of third parties. From building owners to subcontractors, various third parties can cause accidents on the job. When they do, third parties can be held legally accountable.
When you are injured at work due to the act or omissions of a third-party, you would potentially have a claim for both workers’ compensation benefits and against the third-party in civil court. As a result, you need to handle your situation carefully, and you need to act quickly in order to preserve all of your legal rights. Here is what you need to do if you have been injured in an accident at work and you believe a third party may be liable for your losses.
1. Preserve Your Workers’ Compensation Rights
Even if a third party is liable for your job-related injuries, you can still file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Workers’ compensation covers all work accidents, regardless of cause (with a few exceptions for things like drunken behavior and intentional self-harm), and you are covered no matter who is to blame.
However, in order to preserve your workers’ compensation rights, you need to file a claim within 14 days of the accident. Your employer can also require you to see an approved doctor under New Jersey law. As a result, it is important that you file a workers’ compensation claim promptly, and that you take the other necessary steps in order to obtain medical and disability benefits.
2. See Your Own Doctor Promptly
Even if you see your “company doctor” in order to preserve your workers’ compensation rights, it is generally a good idea to see your own doctor as well. This is true, generally, but it is particularly true if you have concerns that the company doctor has not provided a comprehensive diagnosis or is not providing all necessary treatment. An independent doctor will be able to provide a full diagnosis of your accident-related injuries, and he or she will be able to prescribe a treatment plan that is designed to help you recover as fully and completely as possible. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine when it is appropriate to see your own doctor.
3. Keep Any Evidence You Have in Your Possession
When you report your work accident to your employer, your employer may ask for evidence of the accident – such as your damaged work clothes or photos you took with your phone. However, it is extremely important that you keep any evidence you have in your possession to give to your attorney. When you have a third-party claim, you need evidence in order to establish liability. While your attorney will be able to conduct an investigation, any evidence you have from the scene of the accident could prove crucial to securing a financial recovery.
4. Learn about the Differences between Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims
When a third party is liable for your injuries, you can recover financial compensation by filing an injury claim against the third party. Filing an injury claim is very different from filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Since it is likely that you have both types of claims, it will be important for you to understand how each type of claim differs from the other.
For an overview of some of the key differences, you can read: When Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Intersect.
5. Consult with an Attorney Who Handles Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Due to the differences between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, it will be important for you to hire a lawyer or law firm with experience handling both types of claims. From the timelines and procedures involved in the standards for establishing your right to compensation, virtually all aspects of injury claims differ from those involved in securing workers’ compensation benefits. If you hire a lawyer who only has experience handling one type of claim, you could end up collecting significantly less than you deserve.
At Petro Cohen, P.C., we have decades of experience representing injured workers in New Jersey and have a talented team of workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers. We handle workers’ compensation claims and injury claims against third parties, and we have helped numerous clients recover just compensation for their job-related injuries. We offer free, no obligation consultations where you will have the opportunity to discuss your situation and legal rights with one of our attorneys.
Schedule a Free Consultation at Petro Cohen
Were you injured in an accident at work due to third-party negligence? If so, our New Jersey workers’ comp and personal injury attorneys can help you recover the financial compensation you deserve, and will make sure you do not leave money on the table.
Frank Petro, who heads Petro Cohen’s Workers’ Compensation Department, is respected locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading attorney in this specialized field. He has been recognized as an outstanding attorney by Best Lawyers® every year since 1995 and by Super Lawyers® every year since 2005. Moreover, he has achieved a rating of “Superb” on the leading lawyer-review website, Avvo®, the highest achievable rating.
Along with Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, and Daniel Rosenthal, our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases throughout New Jersey.
Susan Petro, who heads the Personal Injury Department and is also the Managing Partner of the firm, along with Rich Gaeckle and Mike Veneziani, will handle your personal injury case, fighting for full and fair compensation in every case they handle. They have successfully handled thousands of personal injury cases for clients throughout southern New Jersey and have a winning track record as well. In addition to handling third party work injury claims, the personal injury lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. handle a variety of other types of cases, including auto accident injuries, construction litigation, and premises liability. You can rest assured that the PI team handles each case with the dedication, respect, and focus you should expect from your legal representation
For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us directly at 888-675-7607 or request your free consultation online now.