Most people don’t understand that when you get hurt at work, you not only have the potential for a workers’ compensation claim, but also a third party negligence claim. You might wonder, what exactly is the difference between the two?
A workers’ compensation claim is against your employer and is intended to recover partial wage benefits and payment of medical bills from your work related injury, if you are injured in the course and scope of your employment. A third party claim, on the other hand, is against someone other than your employer and is intended to recover pain and suffering, lost wages, future wages, and other damages. Because the law does not allow you to sue your employer for negligence, workers compensation is your only remedy against your employer. As a result, you must look to third party to recover your other losses.
For example, let’s assume you are working at a construction site and you fall through a hole in the floor. As a result of this fall, you are catastrophically injured. The hole was created by Company A, who did not secure, cover, or provide warning for the hole. You work for Company B. In this type of case, you would be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits from Company B and pursue a third party negligence case against Company A for failing to secure, cover, or provide warning for the hole.