If you were injured on the job, you have probably heard that your only source of recovery is the workers’ compensation system. However, there are situations when you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party that is not your employer.
A reputable Cincinnati workers’ compensation lawyer can review your situation to determine if you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit. This type of lawsuit would potentially allow you to obtain forms of compensation that are not available in a workers’ compensation claim. We can discuss your options during a free, no obligation consultation.
When Can I Sue Over A Workplace Injury?
There are some common situations when workers may have the option of filing a lawsuit outside the workers’ compensation system:
Defective Product Injuries
If you were injured by a defective product, you may be able to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer, designer or distributor of the product. This type of claim may arise if you were injured by a defective tool, equipment or other item in the workplace when the product was defective, did not work properly or was inherently dangerous.
Toxic Substance Exposure
If your workplace injury was due to a toxic substance like asbestos, benzene, silica or radium, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the substance or the safety equipment that was supposed to prevent you from being exposed. Toxic chemical exposure could cause life-changing injuries and a lawsuit would allow you to pursue the full cost of the damages you suffered.
General Contractors Or Subcontractors
In the construction industry and many other industries, there may be various entities that are present in the workplace. If a contractor or subcontractor that is not your employer causes your injury, you may be able to sue them.
Negligent Third Parties
In other situations, an unrelated third party may be to blame for an accident. For instance, if you were hit by a gravel truck, you may be able to sue the driver or his or her employer. If you were driving for work and were hit by another motorist who failed to yield when you had the right of way, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Advantages To Third Party Lawsuits
If you are injured at work, you should always file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. You may be entitled to medical benefits to pay for the medical treatment that you need as well as compensation to replace part of the wages you lose when you are physically unable to work.
However, filing a third-party lawsuit allows you to pursue compensation for things not covered by workers’ compensation benefits, including current and future medical bills and the full cost of lost wages. You can also pursue compensation for:
- Pain and suffering – Workers’ compensation does not provide any money for the physical and emotional pain and suffering that you experienced because of a workplace accident.
- Punitive damages – Although rare, in some claims, you may be able to receive punitive damages if the negligent party’s conduct was so egregious that it should be punished. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
What Do You Need To Prove In A Third-party Lawsuit?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. Therefore, you need only establish that you were injured at work in a way that is covered by the insurance policy. To recover for a third-party lawsuit, you must establish negligence by showing the following:
- The third party had a duty to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances
- The third party breached the duty of care by not upholding this obligation
- As a result of the breach, the third party caused your injuries
- You suffered damages, such as medical bills and lost wages
Contact A Lawyer For Help
If you were injured at work but believe another party besides your employer may be at fault, it is important that you contact a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer in Cincinnati. He or she can assess your claim and identify all at-fault parties to determine your legal options.