Two Cases In One Injury? Can I Have A Workers Comp AND a Third Party Case?

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April 3  

One Injury, Two Cases

In this article I'm going to discuss a little bit of a complex problem but it does come up in workers comp cases all the time. That is, what if I got hurt while I was working and it was somebody else's fault? That sounds weird but I'll give you a couple of examples.

You're a truck driver, so you're driving you're on the clock and then some guy runs a red light and plows into your truck and you get hurt.

That's one example, another example is in construction.

You're a construction worker and you're working for a subcontractor at a construction project. The general contractor obviously has some control over safety and there's some sort of safety violation like there's ice left in your work area or there's a hole dug and it's not guarded out or marked out. So your employer is the subcontractor, the general contractor didn't do its safety inspection that morning and it as a result you fall in the hole or you slip and fall or some wood falls on you or whatever happens in a construction.

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Collect Both Benefits

So you're in a situation where you know that we don't have to prove or show that your company did anything wrong so you automatically have a workers comp case. If you were hurt because another person or company caused the injury crash or dangerous condition, then you also have a third-party lawsuit.

You can both collect benefits under workers comp and have a third party litigation against the person or company who caused you to be hurt. That's actually a pretty good situation for you. In most comp cases you're getting paid time while you're off work with a doctor's note, you're getting your medical care paid for and once you reach MMI or maximum medical improvement, a lot of times we can get you a settlement without going to trial which is good. But the problem is, what happens in these workers comp cases is, the trade off of you, not having to prove that your company was negligent is that, your damages and workers comp are capped.

Pay In A Third-Party Lawsuit Vs. Pay In Workers Comp Case

In other articles, I discuss how your PPD or permanent partial disability is calculated. That is the amount of money you get in lump sum at the end of the case. It is set by how much money you make per hour and it's multiplied times the number of weeks and that's what you get in lump sum. And there's a range and you benefit from having somebody to fight to get you in a higher range than in a lower range. But in a jury trial or in a trial before a judge at the courthouse in a civil third party case, the damages are unlimited right so it is a real thing that you might have a worker's comp case that settles for $100,000 or $200,000 or $50,000. But if you also have the right to bring a third party case against the company or entity.

Whatever a Judge or Jury Thinks Is Just

In a third party civil case, you can collect as much money as the jury or judge thinks your case is worth. So you can claim things like pain and suffering disability and for damages in the past and damages in the future.

If you have a doctor who writes you a note in a third party case or gives a deposition that says you're going to need $300,000 worth of treatment in the future. Or you're going to need a surgery in the future, we're allowed to ask for that in a third party case. And if a jury or a judge say okay, this guy's got 5 out of 10 back pain for the rest of his life, how much is it worth? Well it's up to the judge and jury. Instead of just some calculation based on how much you make times a certain number of weeks, and then we argue about whether it should be on a high under the low end of the range, it's literally whatever a judge or jury thinks is just.

Talk To A Lawyer

There are definitely are situations where you can have both a worker's comp case and a third party case in one accident or one injury causing event. I hope that sort of explains it for you if you do you should definitely talk to a lawyer because the interplay between the comp and the P.I becomes pretty complicated or it can.

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