If you’re injured on the job, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp insurance exists in Oregon and other states to ensure that injured workers get the financial compensation, medical care, and benefits they need and deserve. But what if someone other than your employer – for example, a subcontractor or supplier – is responsible for your injury?
This is a third-party liability claim, and it sometimes means you’re entitled to get additional benefits. At RGMR, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured employees in workers’ comp claims and third-party claims. Keep reading to learn how third-party liability impacts workers’ comp and how we can help!
What is Third-Party Liability?
Workers’ compensation law is designed to protect the economic interests of employees in the case of injury while on the job. But workplace injuries are rarely as straightforward as they seem. In many professional settings, employees interact with third-party individuals, products, and equipment. Should recklessness or negligence on the part of an individual or entity other than your employer result in an injury, you don’t have to rely on workers’ compensation alone.
Third-party liability allows you to file an additional claim against the individual or business entity responsible for your injury. If successful, this results in greater and more comprehensive benefits. Unlike traditional workers’ comp benefits, which primarily cover medical bills and lost wages, third-party liability can also include non-economic damages such as emotional or psychological distress.
Examples of Third-Party Claims
Common examples of situations in which a third party may be responsible for a workplace injury include the following:
- Construction-site accidents: Third-party liability is often relevant in construction-site injuries because it’s common for several companies to all be working together in one location.
- Toxic substances: If you’re injured by toxic chemicals or substances at work, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer or supplier of those substances.
- Car accidents: If you’re involved in a car accident while on the job, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver in addition to workers’ comp.
- Defective products: In some cases, a defective tool or malfunctioning machinery may be responsible for a workplace injury, which may expose the manufacturer or supplier to third-party liability.
How Do Third-Party Claims Differ from Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Although workers’ compensation claims and third-party liability claims share some similarities, there are also some important differences. In general, a workers’ comp case is simpler to prove because it’s a no-fault system. You only need to show that the injury occurred while you were on the job or while you were performing a job-related task.
In a third-party claim, you must prove that the other party was responsible because of their actions or omissions. In order to do so, you and your attorney need to prove:
- Duty: The other party owed you a duty of care.
- Breach of duty: The other party failed to provide you this duty of care.
- Causation: The other party’s breach of duty caused you to suffer injury.
- Damages: Your injuries caused you monetary or emotional damages.
At RGMR, we’re experts in Oregon workers’ comp and third-party liability law. We don’t play both sides. We exclusively fight for the rights of injured workers, and we can help you gather the evidence you need and fight for your rights.
What To Do if Your Work Injury Is Caused by a Third Party
Third-party liability claims can be complex. Because proving fault is necessary, you should always contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent you. Your lawyer will be able to walk you through the process, provide in-depth legal advice, and represent you in court in the event of a dispute or denial.
If you have sustained an injury while on the job, especially if another individual or manufacturer was involved, you should always take some foundational steps to ensure you have access to relevant evidence:
- Take photos of both your injury and the worksite.
- Collect witness statements.
- Get a medical exam as soon as possible.
- Keep and copy all documentation of the injury and subsequent economic, physical, and emotional damages.
- Hire an experienced attorney.
What Benefits Can You Expect to Receive?
In Oregon, workers’ compensation benefits can include payment for medical expenses, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and more. But workers’ comp doesn’t cover non-monetary or punitive damages.
If you were injured at work and someone else’s actions or omissions are to blame, you should seek compensation for all of the damage that the situation caused you. By winning a third-party liability claim, you may be entitled to additional compensation for emotional and psychological damages. At RGMR, we never back down from a challenge, and we care deeply about the hardships and rights of injured workers. Let us help you prove your case and get the benefits you deserve.
The Attorneys at RGMR Are on Your Side!
Workers’ compensation law is already complicated and can be frustrating to navigate. When a third party is involved, this can make the process even more difficult. But you don’t have to go through it alone.
At Ransom, Gilbertson, Martin, & Ratliff, LLP, our expertise and real-world experience with the workers’ compensation system allow us to help Oregon workers from all walks of life get the assistance they need. We’ll provide you with in-depth legal counsel and representation to hold all parties accountable and fight for your rights.
Contact us today to discuss your case with our compassionate team. We offer free consultations and we don’t charge any fees unless and until we win your case.