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Oakland Legal Professionals Committed to Helping You Obtain Compensation After a Workplace Injury

Understanding third-party lawsuits after being injured at work

Compensation and medical benefits from Workers’ Compensation plans are typically the primary recourse for employees injured on the job. However, if you were injured or made ill by a third party, you may have a claim for damages in addition to your Workers’ Compensation  benefits.

The Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C.,  has aided injured employees in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than three decades. With two attorneys recognized by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law, our firm can help you identify all parties responsible for your injury to obtain the full coverage to which you are entitled.

What are third-party lawsuits?

After a personal injury, all potentially liable parties must be identified. When an employee suffers injury or illness on the job, Workers’ Compensation provides coverage regardless of whether fault for the damage rests with the employer or the worker — liability does not matter.

However, if another party is partially or fully responsible for an injury you suffered at work, that person or entity may be called upon to pay damages for causing your injury. Third-party liability may affect you in the following situations:

  • If you are injured by a defectively designed or built product or machine, you may have a cause of action against the manufacturer of the product. Failure to label the product with appropriate hazard warnings and instructions may also leave the manufacturer vulnerable to a third-party lawsuit.
  • A third party may contribute to workplace injury in different ways. On a construction site, an onsite contractor who does not work for your employer but directly causes your injury may be held liable.

If a party not covered under the umbrella of your employer’s Workers’ Compensation plan is responsible for your injury, you may have a valid third-party claim. While claims for injury under Workers’ Compensation follow strict medical cost and lost wage payment schedules, a third-party lawsuit operates under civil personal injury law and may involve the following types of compensation:

  • Economic damages — Direct, accountable losses, including present and future medical expenses and lost wages
  • Noneconomic damages — Other damages  including pain, suffering and emotional distress
  • Punitive damages — Compensation for injuries resulting from gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing meant to punish the liable party

Up to an additional 50 percent of your workers’ compensation benefit can be awarded under a Workers’ Compensation claim if your attorney can prove that your employer engaged in serious and willful misconduct. This is higher than the standard for negligence, as it must be shown that your employer or a representative of your employer had prior knowledge or notice of the harmful conditions that led to your injury or illness.

Consult an attorney for help obtaining benefits for your workplace injury in Oakland

If you are injured at work, make sure you know who is at fault. For valuable legal assistance and a thorough investigation into your case, call the Law Offices of John E. Hill at 510.275.4947 or contact us online. Our attorneys offer flexible office hours. Set up your free initial consultation today.