Pennsylvania Workers Comp Claims vs. Third Party Claims

Employee injured in a work site accident

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act covers most accidents and illnesses sustained by workers throughout the state. If an employee is injured in an accident, he can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Provided the injury or illness is work-related and occurred during the ordinary course of employment, the employee should receive workers’ comp benefits.

Workers’ comp benefits include receiving medical treatment and care. The treatment and cost must be reasonable and necessary. The injured worker may also receive wage benefits if he is unable to work during his recovery. Employees might also be entitled to receive additional benefits depending on the severity of their injury. Some workers are entitled to compensation if they sustain a permanent impairment or disability. Family members might also receive benefits if a loved one is killed in a workplace accident.

However, workers’ compensation benefits may not be the only legal action that an injured worker may pursue to recover compensation. A worker could have a claim against another party for negligence or wrongdoing. If so, the third party claim could result in additional compensation for the employee and the family.

What is a Third-Party Claim?

When workers’ compensation insurance covers an injury, the injured worker cannot sue the employer, except under very narrowly defined circumstances. For example, if the employer intentionally caused the worker’s injury or was guilty of gross negligence, the employee might have the right to sue the employer. However, lawsuits against employers are not common.

Third-party claims against other parties are more common. These claims involve another party that could be liable for the worker’s damages because of negligence or other wrongdoing.

For example, a delivery driver is involved in a traffic accident on the way to make a delivery. The employee may be covered by workers’ compensation because he was injured during the ordinary course of employment (making a delivery).

However, if the other driver caused the accident, the delivery driver might have a third party claim against the other driver. The delivery drive might sue the other driver for a car accident claim. If the delivery driver wins, he might receive compensation in addition to the benefits he received from workers’ compensation.

Another example would be a construction worker injured by a defective product. The injury should be covered under workers’ comp if the construction worker was performing work within the scope of his employment. However, if the defective product contributed to the cause of the injury, the worker might recover additional compensation by filing a defective product claim.

What Should a Worker File a Third-Party Claim?

Workers’ compensation benefits do not compensate injured workers for all losses. For example, workers only receive a portion of their lost wages instead of reimbursement for all lost income. Also, workers’ comp does not include compensation for pain and suffering damages.

A third party claim can compensate the victim for these damages and much more.

Contact an Erie Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you are unsure whether you might have a third party claim after an on-the-job injury, contact our Erie workers’ compensation attorney for more information.

Call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule your free legal consultation to discuss your workplace accident.