If you are injured on the job, your company has an insurance policy that is supposed to pay the cost of your medical expenses and lost wages. However, your workplace injury isn’t always caused by your workplace. Instead, the injury might be caused by a product or individual not related to your company.
When this happens, turn to a local lawyer, you can trust. At Console and Associates, we fight to make sure you receive the appropriate amount for your injury so you can focus on your recovery without going into debt.
Workman’s compensation (often called workman’s comp) is a form of payment where an employer’s insurance covers the cost of an employee’s expenses when they are injured on the job. For example, if an employee slices their hand open, needs stitches, and can’t perform their job duties for a few weeks, the company would cover the medical expenses and lost wages. The state of New Jersey requires all employers to pay for workman’s comp on behalf of their employees.
Many of our clients ask if they can sue a company for negligence after getting worker’s compensation. While this depends on the case, one of the things that workmans’ comp does is help shield a company from injury claims. However, if your employer created an unsafe work environment and didn’t take steps to protect you when they were aware of the risks, this could be a sign of negligence or premises liability.
But, what if the thing that caused your injury at work wasn’t caused by your work? You still deserve compensation, but your employer is not who you seek it from. In that case, you or your lawyer will file something called a third-party lawsuit.
If you are injured or become ill on the job, but your employer is not at fault, then you may qualify to file a third-party liability claim. One typical example is the use of defective equipment. If your employer bought equipment believing that it was safe, but manufacturing defects made it dangerous, the injured worker would file a personal injury claim against the third-party manufacturer, not their direct employer.
Workmans’ comp lawsuits aren’t as cut-and-dry as you might think. For example, if a worker develops asthma from working with chemicals, then their employer could be negligent for not providing proper face masks. However, if the employer was lead to believe the chemicals were safe, and it turns out the chemical manufacturer lied, then the employee could bring a third-party liability claim against the chemical company. New Jersey and federal law on worker safety is complex, and insurance companies can sometimes use that to try and avoid paying for damages, even when their clients are responsible.
You can also bring a third-party liability claim against an individual. If this person caused you to be injured on the job, and you can prove they were negligent, then you may have a case. For example, if an outside contractor causes you to get injured or you are injured while running an errand, that third party would be responsible for your workplace injury.
If you do get a larger settlement from your employer as a result of bringing a case against them, then you do need to pay a portion of your workman’s comp back. If another party is partially liable for your injuries, then your workman’s comp policy is entitled to recover the portion of your settlement that the third party is responsible for. However, this shouldn’t deter you from making a claim against your employer if they were negligent in your safety.
First of all, even if they do attempt to recover a portion of your claim, you will not have to pay out of pocket. Your company’s workman’s comp will not bill you directly. Instead, they’ll place a lien against your settlement. A lien means that they will recover the funding they paid out before you receive any damages.
Secondly, the workman’s compensation lien can be negotiated or reduced in the settlement to limit what you have to give them. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help reduce the amount that you owe.
Some workplace injuries don’t require legal representation. If the injury was minor, you missed little to no work; then you will likely be able to handle your workmans’ comp claim on your own. However, there are instances where you need to call an attorney to help you with your claim:
These are all signs that your case is more complex than a simple workman’s comp injury or that your employer does not want to compensate you fairly for your injuries. Hiring an attorney takes the burden off of you to represent yourself and gives you the knowledge and experience navigating the legal system that you need.
If you were injured at work and aren’t receiving the workman’s comp you need, or you want to make a third-party liability claim against another company or person, contact the best personal injury lawyers in South Jersey to represent your case. At Console and Associates, we fight insurance companies and use our knowledge of the law to fight for the settlement you need.
“Insurance companies and providers tried taking advantage of me. Console & Associates didn’t let that happen and really fought for me. I highly recommend them.” D. Gordon / Client