Filing a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim for a Workplace Accident in Pennsylvania
Workers’ compensation provides benefits for employees injured in the course and scope of employment. Employers that maintain workers’ compensation insurance are generally protected, or immune, from personal injury lawsuits filed by their employees. In other words, in exchange for giving up their right to pursue a civil claim against their employer, employees are provided lost wages and accident-related medical costs through a no-fault system.
As a no-fault system, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act entitles employees to assistance in the form of compensation and benefits, regardless of who was at fault for causing the underlying accident and injuries. There are numerous rules and requirements in order for a workers’ compensation claim to be accepted, including properly reporting the injury to the employer. In many cases, initial claims are denied by the employer or their insurance carrier but can be appealed.
Third-Party Claims May Provide Another Form of Recovery
When a third party, rather than your employer, causes your workplace injury, you may pursue a claim against them for the damages. For example, if a defective power drill at work caused your injuries, you may bring a claim against the manufacturer of the saw. Third-party claims are legal claims against non-employers who may be responsible for work-related injuries. There are various situations in which an employee may have an appropriate third-party claim against an individual or entity, including equipment malfunctions, car accidents, and errors by outside contractors.
The advantage of bringing a third-party claim is that an injured worker can recover damages for emotional pain and suffering and other losses not taken into account by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits include compensation for medical costs related to treatment, death benefits, coverage for physical therapy, and vocational rehabilitation. By filing a personal injury third-party claim, the employee may recover compensation for loss of companionship, and family members may be able to recover for damages stemming from the accident.
For example, a bus driver who is operating their vehicle and struck by a third party may bring a workers’ compensation claim against their employer. If successful, this driver could recover for the cost of their medical care related to the accident. They may also receive benefits for missed wages from work and any resulting disability endured. The driver could also pursue a third-party claim against the at-fault driver. This would be a method to potentially recover for the emotional trauma and the property damage caused in the accident.
At Needle Law, we represent workers suffering from work-related injuries or medical conditions. We understand the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system and have been advocating on behalf of injured employees for decades. We can help you understand how to try to maximize your recovery. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a job injury lawyer in our firm, call (570) 344-1266 or complete our online form.