Workers Compensation and Third Party Liability
If you are an employee that gets injured while working, your recovery for medical bills, disability and pain and suffering is limited to the statutory provisions of the New Jersey Workers Compensation law. Your employer enjoys immunity from a civil suit by virtue of paying workers compensation insurance. This immunity continues no matter how egregious the employers conduct or how significant the harm.
Fortunately the immunity stops at the employer.
Many work-related accidents have an additional cause of action associated with the case. While the accident happened at work another party may have caused or contributed to the loss. This party is not the employer to the injured worker, and as such does not enjoy the immunity provisions of the employer. The injured worker can then proceed with a cause of action against this entity or person. This cause of action is referred to as third party liability.
Third party liability occurs more frequently in workers compensation cases than believed. Sometimes they are more obvious. For example if you are driving a vehicle while working and your vehicle gets rear ended by another. In this scenario you will have a workers compensation case against your employer and a third party case against the driver that rear-ended you.
Most third party cases are more subtle. Potential liability has to be analyzed to determine if another shares responsibility for your loss. We are constantly looking at equipment, manufacturers, maintenance companies; independent contractors, subcontractors and property owners.
Determining if there is a viable third party defendant starts at the inception. As soon as the accident occurs the victim should start taking notice of the accident scene and the people surrounding the victim. Cell phone photographs are critical; immediately request any and all documents that relate to the property or the accident. What you do right after the accident can largely impact on the recovery you get later.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have been handling workers compensation and third party liability for 25 years. If you are the victim to an accident at work, contact us today. Let us explain your rights and sources for recovery.