Third Party

Most workers in California are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If they are injured on the job, they can receive medical benefits and disability benefits (loss of income). Family members can apply for workers’ comp death benefits if a worker dies.

However, some injured workers could be entitled to additional compensation if another party is responsible for causing their injuries. The worker might have a third-party claim against the at-fault party. Importantly, this type of claim can result in significantly more compensation than what a workers’ comp claim can provide.

California Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Limited 

California Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Limited 

Generally, you can receive workers’ comp benefits even if you are to blame for causing your injury or another party caused your injury. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system designed to provide immediate benefits to an injured employee while they recover from a work-related injury.

However, workers’ comp benefits are limited. All necessary and reasonable medical bills are covered, but you are not reimbursed for all loss of income. Typically, you only receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages. 

Additionally, workers’ compensation does not include non-economic damages. Therefore, you are not compensated for your pain and suffering damages

What Is a Third Party for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A third party is someone who is not a party to the workers’ compensation claim. It is a party other than your employer who caused or contributed to the cause of your work injury. Examples of third parties in a workers’ comp case include, but are not limited to:

  • A motorist who caused a car accident while you were engaged in work-related activities, such as making deliveries for your employer
  • A manufacturer or other party responsible for a defective product that caused your injury
  • Negligent property owners responsible for hazardous property conditions that resulted in your injury
  • A contractor or other party whose negligence caused your injury

The best way to know if you have a third-party claim after a workplace accident is to speak with a lawyer. An attorney can review your case during a free consultation to advise you of your legal options for seeking compensation for damages. 

What Do I Need To Prove To Recover Damages for a Third-Party Claim in Vista, CA?

A third-party lawsuit is a civil claim. Therefore, it is handled the same way as general personal injury claims. Generally, you must have sufficient evidence to prove the following for a negligence claim:

  • A legal duty of care existed between you and the third party
  • The third party acted or failed to act with reasonable care 
  • Your injuries were caused by the third party’s breach of duty 
  • You suffered damages because of the third party’s conduct

Some lawsuits could be based on other causes of action, such as strict liability, vicarious liability, or product liability. You still have the burden of proving the legal elements to win your case. 

If you contributed to the cause of your injury, California’s contributory fault laws apply. Your compensation for damages can be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if a jury decides you are 20% to blame for a car crash, your damages are reduced by 20 percent. 

Why Types of Damages Can I Receive for a Third Party Claim in Vista, CA?

As with other personal injury cases, you can receive reimbursement for economic damages. The amount of your economic damages is not limited like a workers’ compensation claim. Examples of economic damages for a third-party claim include:

Additionally, you can claim non-economic damages in a third-party lawsuit. These damages are not paid by workers’ compensation. Examples of non-economic damages for a third-party claim include:

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish

Third-party lawsuits could also result in punitive damages. These damages do not compensate you for losses. Instead, punitive damages are awarded by juries to punish defendants for very specific behavior. 

Can You File Both a Third Party Lawsuit and a Workers’ Compensation Claim for a Vista Work Accident?

Yes, you may be able to file a workers’ comp claim and a third-party claim. However, your employer might join your third-party lawsuit through the process of intervention. Your employer could join the lawsuit to try to recoup some of the costs related to your work injury. 

Because third-party claims can be complicated personal injury cases, it is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a work injury. A Vista workplace accident lawyer will work to protect your best interests and your right to fair compensation for all damages caused by a workplace accident.

Learn More During a Free Consultation With Our Vista Personal Injury Attorneys 

At Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers, we pursue every source of compensation for your workers’ compensation claim. We want to maximize the amount you receive for your damages. Call now for at 619) 344-0360 a free case evaluation with one of our Vista personal injury lawyers.