Can I file a Work Comp Lawsuit for my work-related injury?
If you are injured while working, Minnesota workers’ compensation laws provide benefits such as payment of medical treatment for the work injury and lost wages for the time that you are unable to work due to your injuries. Many clients think that they need to file a Work Comp Lawsuit when their benefits are denied by the insurance company, however the correct term for this step is a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Benefits. In fact, the law protects employers from being sued for work-related injuries, in exchange for guaranteeing benefits to the injured worker.
In certain circumstances, you might also have the ability to file a third-party liability claim, which is basically a lawsuit against someone other that your employer or their Workers’ Compensation insurance company. The most significant difference is that third-party liability claims may entitle the injured worker to receive compensation for additional damages that are not available in a workers’ compensation claim, such as pain and suffering, future medical treatment and loss of future earnings capacity.
When Someone Else Causes Your Work Injury
In general, Minnesota law allows you to file a third-party liability lawsuit for work related injuries if someone other than your employer is responsible for causing your injuries. Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys can help you determine what types of claims you can file, however the following examples show situations when a person may be entitled to receive work comp benefits and also make a third-party liability claim, including filing a lawsuit for their work-related injury.
Picture this: it is springtime in Minnesota and a construction worker is working to repair potholes on Interstate 94. She is filling a pothole when the driver of an automobile crashes through the orange cones, striking the construction worker, and seriously injuring her. This construction worker would be eligible to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. But she may also make a liability claim against the driver of the automobile, the person who caused the accident. In the third-party liability claim, the construction worker can seek compensation for the pain and suffering that was caused by the negligence of the driver who failed to slow down in the construction zone and obey the posted road construction signs.
Consider this: a metal press operator is excited because he gets to work with a brand new machine that is estimated to increase his productivity by twenty-percent. Unbeknownst to him, the new machine was defectively manufactured and missing a very important part that secures the guard to the machine. This guard is designed to protect the operator from harm. On the third day of working with this new machine, the guard falls off while the press is operating and crushes the operator’s hand. This injured worker can bring a third-party liability claim against the manufacturer of the press for defectively manufacturing the press without the part that secures the guard to the machine. In this claim, the negligent manufacturer may be held responsible for the injured worker’s damages, including his pain and suffering and the loss of his future earnings capacity due to the fact that he no longer has full use of one of his hands.
Imagine this: on a Friday night during summer, a pizza delivery driver goes to a house to deliver the pizza they ordered. She gets out of the car with the pizza and walks up to the front door where the light is on, anticipating her arrival. Suddenly, she falls to her right side, the pizza goes flying, and she breaks her wrist. She looks down to see why she fell and notices that the area right by the edge of the sidewalk, completely covered by long grass, where the homeowner has dug a hole about a foot deep. In this situation, the homeowner may be held responsible for the injured worker’s damages, caused by the dangerous condition on the homeowner’s property.
In order to determine whether you may have a third-party liability claim, you should seek the advice of an attorney. At Fields Law, our personal injury lawyers are here to help clients file Work Comp Lawsuits, including Workers’ Compensation Cases and Third-Party Liability claims. Contact us today for your free case review!