Many people do not realize that they can pursue a third party claim for a personal injury in Columbia, South Carolina, when that injury was related to work. They know that they have workers’ compensation coverage, they know that this is an exclusive remedy system and they know that they cannot sue their employers or co-workers because of this. What many are unaware of is that the injury could be the fault of someone who is not their employer or a co-worker. There are many scenarios in which this could happen, as we will elaborate on below. But when it does happen, you can pursue a separate personal injury claim against the at-fault party which will not prevent you from recovering your workers’ compensation benefits at the same time. If you were injured at work or while completing work related tasks, you should follow the standard procedures to file a workers’ compensation claim. Yet, you should also ask yourself if the injury was caused by the negligence of any third party.
Columbia, SC, Personal Injury Claims Can Make Up for What Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover
While workers’ compensation serves an extremely important purpose by ensuring that you have benefits to cover you when you are out of work from an employment related injury, it does have a number of limitations. The biggest benefit is that you do not have to file a personal injury claim or prove negligence to get wage and medical benefits. The biggest downside is that you cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering or receive punitive damages when someone has done something that is egregiously negligent or intentional to harm you. Further, if your accident involved property damage, workers’ compensation is not going to cover this. When it comes to your lost wages, workers’ compensation will only cover 2/3 of your lost wages, and only after seven days of missed work.
Meanwhile, if you pursue a personal injury claim, you could recover the full amount of your lost wages, compensation for your property damage, and even compensation for pain and suffering, psychological trauma, and punitive damages in cases where egregious negligence applies. For an example of this, imagine a situation where you are driving for work related purposes, and someone else runs a red light and t-bones your vehicle. You can quickly get workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and 2/3 of your lost wages, as long as you are out of work for at least seven days.
However, if you want to cover your property damage, the trauma of the incident, and the remainder of your lost wages, you will need to file a third party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and/or their auto insurance policy. In another example, if your job involves traveling to other people’s homes, and if you trip on a hazard that the homeowner should have addressed, then you can file a premises liability personal injury claim against the homeowner and/or their homeowner’s insurance policy.
Most Common Examples of Third Party Claims for Personal Injury in Columbia, South Carolina
Third party claims for personal injuries in Columbia, South Carolina, are only an option if there is a third party involved. If you get hurt in such a way that only your employer, your co-workers, and you are involved, then you will not be able to pursue a personal injury claim. Having said that, there are far more situations that involve third party claims than most people are aware of. It is always wise to talk to a Columbia, South Carolina, personal injury attorney if you have any suspicion that your injury involved someone outside of your workplace. Following are some of the most common examples of this, many of which may not have even occurred to you:
- Product Liability Personal Injury Claims: This is perhaps one of the most overlooked examples of third party claims for personal injury in Columbia, South Carolina. When you are injured by a defective product, it may not even cross your mind that you have a valid third party personal injury claim. You may associate the machinery and equipment that you use with your employer so much that you forget that it was designed, manufactured, and distributed by a third party. That third party may be liable for your injuries.
- Non-Employer Project Manager Injury Claims: Another frequently overlooked example of a third party claim for personal injury in Columbia, South Carolina, is the type that involves management, but management that is not employed by your employer. The reason that we tend to overlook these situations is because, much like the machinery and equipment we use, we associate the people we complete work for with our employers. Yet, there are situations where a project manager is not a part of your employer’s team. For example, you may be in construction, working with a non-employer engineer or architect who makes a mistake.
- Auto Accident Personal Injury Claims: Situations involving work related auto accidents are the least likely to be overlooked by the injured party. In fact, workers are more likely to pursue the auto accident claim and forget that they also have a workers’ compensation claim.
- Premises Liability Personal Injury Claims: Much like auto accidents, premises liability claims resulting from the negligence of property owners are typically quite obvious. Keep in mind that you can pursue a premises liability claim and a workers’ compensation claim at the same time.
Contact the Michael Jeffcoat Law Firm to Discuss Your Work Injury and Third Party Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured at work, then you need to focus on your workers’ compensation claim to begin with. You need to report your injury, seek medical treatment, and gather evidence of what happened and why. Then, you need to consider what third parties may have been involved and contact the Columbia, South Carolina, personal injury attorneys at The Jeffcoat Firm for a free consultation.