For many people hurt on the job, the only option is a workers' compensation claim. However, in some cases, victims of workplace accidents are entitled to compensation from an entity other than their employers. For example, the responsible party may be another driver, a manufacturer, an independent contractor, or a property owner. These claims are known as third-party claims. In order to figure out whether you have a third-party claim after a workplace accident, you should consult the Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids work injury attorneys at Neumann Law Group about your case.Bringing a Third-Party Claim after a Workplace Accident
Workers' compensation, when it applies, is the exclusive remedy against an employer (and usually a co-worker) for a workplace accident, and it does not require you to prove fault. However, if your injury was caused by a third party's negligence or intentional misconduct, you may be able to recover additional damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Workers' compensation is not especially generous and will not provide recovery for pain and suffering and other noneconomic losses. It does not provide full wage replacement. If a third party's liability for an accident is in question, it may be appropriate to turn to that party and its insurer for compensation.
The appropriate theory under which to bring a third-party claim varies, but in most cases, it is a person or entity's negligence rather than intentional misconduct that brings about a work injury. In most cases, plaintiffs who bring a negligence claim must prove the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. For example, if you are a pizza delivery driver, and your car is squeezed by a big rig making a wide turn, resulting in serious injuries, you may have a claim of negligence against the truck driver and possibly also other parties, such as his employer.
In Michigan, both the workers’ compensation law and the no-fault law govern your entitlement to recovery for certain economic losses. However, your entitlement to workers' compensation benefits is set off against PIP benefits, such that the PIP insurer's liability is reduced. If you have a threshold injury and are able to recover noneconomic losses in a third-party claim, an insurer will not have a subrogation right against your recovery of those noneconomic losses.
Many third-party claims require proof of other elements, and they may require expert testimony. For example, if you have to work off-site and are injured by a defective machine provided there, you might have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the machine. In that case, you would have to establish that the machine had a defect (a manufacturing, marketing, or design defect) and that the machine was in the same condition when it left the manufacturer, among other things.Retain an Experienced Work Injury Attorney in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
Work injuries are common in Michigan and elsewhere. Workers' compensation benefits are helpful for injured workers, but they may be limited. In some cases, recovery of these benefits may not be possible. If you are hurt in a workplace accident caused by someone other than your employer, you may have a third-party claim. The Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City work injury lawyers at Neumann Law Group represent people in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, and communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning injury and workers’ compensation lawyer who has regularly secured over $3 million in personal injury cases each year for the past several years. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also can assist injured individuals in California and Massachusetts.