By Garrett Handy
WORKERS COMPENSATION LAW SAYS EMPLOYERS ARE THE "EXCLUSIVE REMEDY" FOR JOB INJURY
Did you know that f you are injured on the job, your exclusive remedy comes in the form of workers compensation benefits paid by the employer's workers compensation insurance? If you have been injured on the job, and you think a third-party may be liable, Handy & Handy Workers' Compensation Attorneys could help you understand your case. Basically, if you are injured on the job, your exclusive remedy comes in the form of workers compensation benefits - paid by the employer's workers compensation insurance carrier. Even if your employer was negligent, you do not have a right to file a lawsuit against your employer on that basis. At Handy & Handy, we do not typically handle workers compensation claims; however, our workers compensation attorneys often help injured workers/employees when a third-party is involved.
For example, let's suppose you are on the job (within the course and scope of your employment) and you are a passenger in a company car driven by a co-worker. If your co-worker runs a red light (an act of negligence) and causes and accident with injuries to yourself, your exclusive remedy is limited to work comp benefits. You cannot bring a negligence claim against your co-worker and recover damages for pain and suffering.
On the other hand, let's assume the same facts, but this time, another driver runs the red light causing an accident with injuries to yourself. In this scenario, your co-worker did nothing wrong; the accident was caused by a third-party. So, even though you are on the job, you are entitled to make a claim against the other driver for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering through a workers compensation attorney.
Third-party workers compensation claims also commonly arise between sub-contractors working on the same job. For example, let's say you work for a stucco company doing residential construction. At the job site, there may be many other contractors working at the same time. While you're doing stucco, the roofer may be doing shingles on the roof. If the roofer drops a load of shingles on your head, causing a brain injury, the roofer would be a third-party, enabling you to bring a negligence claim against the roofing company. Again, you cannot bring a claim against your own employer - even if you claim your employer was in the wrong for not providing you with a hard hat.
RECEIVE YOUR FREE CASE REVIEW WITH OUR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS
Third-party workers compensation claims are common. These are often fact intensive cases involving significant injuries. If you have been injured on the job, and you think a third-party may be liable, please call us at Handy & Handy to discuss your case with a workers compensation attorney.
* One notable exception is the "Intentional Injury Exception" as outlined in Helf v. Chevron, (Utah 2009). I'll save a discussion on the Chevron case for another post.