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When Tort Claims Can Be Filed Outside of Workers' Compensation

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 17-Apr-2015

If you have suffered a workplace injury and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you may be under the impression that you can only receive compensation by filing a claim through workers’ comp. While that is generally true, there are several notable exceptions that might allow you to seek additional compensation by filing a lawsuit. Here are a few examples of workplace injuries that allow workers to file a lawsuit outside of workers’ comp.

Premises Liability

The owner of any property has a legal responsibility to ensure that the property is reasonable safe. Many employees—particularly contractors—are required to work on-site at various properties that are owned by someone other than their employer. If you are injured on someone else’s property because the owner was negligent in providing a safe workplace, you could potentially file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. A premises liability lawsuit would provide compensation above and beyond what is covered by workers’ comp.

Third Party Claims

An injured worker may also have a viable “third party claim” in addition to workers’ compensation. This type of claim is available if your injury was caused, at least in part, by someone other than your employer. “Third party claims” are very common in workplace accidents, especially when contractors are on-site.

Defective Product

If your injury was caused by a defective product, you may be able to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product. Product manufacturers can be held responsible for injuries caused by a product due to a design defect, malfunction, or failure to warn the user of known dangers.

Toxic Substance

If your injury was the result of exposure to a toxic substance or chemical, you could be able to file a lawsuit known as a “toxic tort.” There are two types of injuries that can occur from exposure to a toxic substance.

The first is what is known as an acute injury. Acute injuries are immediately apparent and the source of the injury is generally easily identifiable. An example of an acute injury would be suffering a burn from a toxic chemical that is exposed to skin.

The second type of injury is known as a latent injury. Latent injuries are the result of frequent exposure to small amounts of a toxic substance. Many times, they can take years to develop, so identifying the source of the injury can be difficult. A prime example of a latent injury is workers who develop cancer or mesothelioma as a result of years of asbestos exposure.

Claims Against Your Employer Outside of Workers' Compensation

In some situations you may be permitted to pursue a lawsuit against your employer in addition to the benefits provided by workers’ compensation. Any potential exceptions or other causes of action against your employer vary from state to state. Therefore, you should consult with an experienced work injury attorney to determine your legal options.

Consulting with a Work Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured at work, you should consult with a work injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights. Even if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit depending on the facts of your case. Our lawyers can provide you with a free consultation to help you determine your best legal options. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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