No matter the circumstances under which they occur, workplace injuries can be devastating for impacted employees and their families. Even with workers’ compensation benefits to lean on, people put out of work due to an accident on the job may still struggle immensely with the physical, personal, and emotional toll these kinds of incidents can take.
However, if you got hurt while working due specifically to the negligence of a third party other than your employer or a coworker, you may have other options at your disposal other than workers’ comp that an Athens workplace injury lawyer could help you take advantage of. Once hired, your dedicated attorney may be able to help you seek additional compensation for both economic and non-economic losses through a separate third-party claim.
When Might a Third-Party Lawsuit Be Appropriate?
If a worker has access to workers’ compensation coverage, a workers’ comp claim is generally the only way they can seek restitution for an injury on the job. Since virtually every employer in the state of Alabama is required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, there are almost no circumstances under which an injured worker in Athens could file a civil lawsuit against their employer or any affiliated party—such as another employee—over a workplace injury.
However, if a worker gets hurt on the job due to negligence by a person or entity not directly affiliated with their employer, they may be able to file a civil lawsuit against that third party. For example, if a piece of job-critical machinery malfunctions due to a manufacturing defect, any employee injured as a result may be able to file suit against the company that made and/or sold the defective machine in question.
This third-party tort lawsuit would exist separately from their workers’ compensation claim and could proceed simultaneously—in other words, an injured worker could ostensibly recover compensation through both workers’ comp benefits and a civil damage award for different types of losses. An Athens workplace injury attorney could discuss with an individual worker whether their circumstances may allow for this kind of legal action.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Workplace Injury Litigation
The primary upside to third-party tort claims over workers’ comp claims is that there are no limits in the former type of case on what kinds of damages an injured person can seek restitution for. While workers’ compensation only covers certain economic damages like medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, civil lawsuits and private settlement negotiations can demand compensation for all forms of economic and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering.
However, since a tort claim for a workplace injury is effectively a normal personal injury claim, claimants must be able to prove legal negligence by their named defendant(s) in order to recover compensation, which can require a great deal of evidence and a lot of legal legwork. For this reason, assistance from a workplace accident lawyer in Athens is especially important for anyone who wants to pursue a third-party claim in addition or as an alternative to workers’ compensation.
Talk to an Athens Workplace Injury Attorney Today
With relatively few exceptions, injuries that occur on job sites and inside offices exclusively fall within the purview of workers’ compensation. That being said, those exceptional circumstances still crop up sometimes—and when they do, it is a very good idea to get professional legal help if you want to make the most of your potential case.
A knowledgeable Athens workplace injury lawyer could explain all your legal options to you and help maximize the compensation available in your situation. Call today to learn more.