What Does Third-Party Liability Mean in Worker’s Compensation Cases?

Workers who have sustained an on-the-job injury or illness are entitled to workers’ compensation to cover the medical bills and lost wages that result from their injuries. However, workers compensation benefits do not cover an individual’s long-term monetary loss, pain and suffering, or additional damages that may have resulted from particularly reckless conduct. As a matter of fact, state law actually limits most workers’ compensation payments. Furthermore, individuals who accept workers’ compensation benefits forfeit their right to sue their employer for their job related injury or illness.

Third-Party Liability

Third-party liability provides an additional remedy, separate from workers’ compensation benefits, to individuals who have sustained a job related injury or illness. A third-party is anyone other than a worker’s employer or co-worker. Third-party liability occurs when an individual who sustains a job related injury or illness sues someone other than his or her employer for damages.

Common third-party defendants include, but are not limited to:

• Manufacturers of workplace equipment, tools, or materials, whose products may have caused or intensified an individual’s work related injury or illness;

• Landlords or business owners who fail to keep their premises clear of hazards, thus resulting in an injury or illness to a worker who visits the premise as part of his or her job;

• Automobile drivers who cause an accident, which results in an injury to a worker who was on the road as part of his or her job.

Will a claim for third-party liability affect the status of my workers compensation benefits?

No. All awards received in third-party liability suits are separate and distinct from workers’ compensation benefits. This means that injured or ill workers can receive an award based off of their third-party liability claim and still retain their workers compensation benefits. Additionally, the right to bring a claim for third-party liability also extends to the surviving families of a deceased individual in cases of work related wrongful deaths.

Why should you pursue a third-party liability claim?

Since workers’ compensation benefits generally do not account for all of the cost associated with a work related injury or illness, pursuing a third party liability claim affords the victims of a work related injury or illness an additional remedy which may fully cover the costs of the of injury and lost wages. The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.