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Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits the Only Option if Injured at Work?


If you are injured at work, you may be wondering what type of compensation you are entitled to.  Regardless of the cause of your workplace injury, the first step you should take is to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. An injured worker will be awarded benefits without having to show fault on the employer’s part. However, workers’ compensation benefits may not be your only legal option! Sometimes, you may have a potential claim against a third party that is also liable for your injury at work. In that case, you would need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to obtain compensation from a third party. 

The following are a few examples of when a personal injury lawsuit may be a good legal avenue for you when you are injured at work: 

  • If you are required to drive for work and you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because you were acting within the course and scope of your employment. In addition, if the person who caused your accident was driving negligently, you may have a third-party action against the negligent driver. 
  • Say you are a mechanic working on a repair for a car at work. In order to fix the car, you must use a certain tool. The tool malfunctions as a result of a faulty design, and due to the malfunction, you are injured.  Under these circumstances, you would have a workers’ compensation claim because you were injured doing your job. You would also have a third-party claim against the tool manufacturer for producing a tool with a faulty design. 
  • A traveling nurse visits a client that lives on the second floor of an apartment building. The nurse falls on the icy steps and is injured. The nurse would be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits because she fell in the course of her employment, and she could also file a third-party lawsuit against the apartment building’s management company for breaching their duty of care. 
  • If you are attacked on the job or are a victim of workplace violence, you may have both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim against the person who hurt you. 

These are just a few examples of third-party claims. Filing a workers’ compensation claim first can be extremely beneficial to pursuing a third-party claim because it will quickly start the process of producing necessary evidence for secondary legal action. In addition, you can immediately begin to receive benefits for lost time and medical expenses through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. 

Typically, an individual only has two years from the date of the accident to file a third-party claim for personal injury. If you have suffered an injury in the course of your employment and you believe that you may have a third party claim as well as a workers’ compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the Bainbridge Firm for assistance!

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