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Third Party Liability

What is Third Party Liability?

As it applies in the workplace, third party liability refers to another worker or party who is the likely cause of your injury. A third party whose actions (or lack of actions) contributed to your injury, not your employer, could be held liable and further compensation recovered. For example, a third party in a construction accident might be a subcontractor that negligently constructed scaffolding that collapsed. Another driver could be a third party liable for personal injuries you sustain in an auto accident if you are working at the time.

Unlike workers' compensation, negligence in a third party liability claim must be proved. In the case of the manufacturer, the product or equipment would have to be proven defective and that it caused your personal injuries. When successful these claims provide much more extensive benefits, including:

  • Full wage reimbursement
  • Full medical treatment from your own physician
  • Pain and suffering
  • Potential future income
  • Punitive damages

Most industries establish third- party entities to control various functions on a worksite. On a construction site, for instance, there may be a site manager for all of the activities involved. Other projects may involve multiple supervisors from multiple companies. In complex work environments and situations, it can be difficult to isolate the responsible parties. Consulting a Kansas City workers' compensation attorney who understands third-party liability claims could bring you the full compensation you deserve.

What if the injury was the employer's fault?

As they have from their beginning during the industrial revolution, state workers' compensation systems are generally considered no fault systems. This means neither party, you or your employer, has to prove fault. It is a trade the employee makes for limited, but guaranteed, benefits to you in exchange for you not suing your employer for contributory negligence. Whether the employee's or the employer's negligent behavior caused the injury is not taken into consideration by law. This said, if you can prove the reckless or intentional action of your employer caused your injuries, you may be able to file a claim against your employer. If you choose to do this, you may give up your rights to workers' compensation insurance benefits.

In nearly every state your only recourse for a work-related injury or illness is a workers' compensation benefits claim. That's why the quality and commitment of your attorney is critical. Contact a Kansas City workers' compensation attorney today.

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