Your Workers Comp Claim May Be Worth More Than You Think

You are likely aware that if you are injured at work you can file a workers compensation claim against your employer to recover the cost of medical bills and lost wages.  What you may not know is that you may also have a claim against a third party that is not a part of your workers compensation claim.

The workers compensation act precludes employees from suing their employers as a result of injury while the employee is acting in the course and scope of his or her employment through any avenue other than the workers compensation system.  The act does not preclude an employee from suing a third party who may have contributed to the cause of the injury.

For example, I had a case where the plaintiff was driving a truck on behalf of his employer when he was rear ended by a motorist.  The plaintiff first filed a workers compensation claim through his employer since he was acting in the course and scope of his employment in driving the truck.  He then filed a separate lawsuit against the negligent driver that rear-ended him.  The Plaintiff was able to recover through the both the workers compensation claim and the separate personal injury claim.

If that sounds too good to be true, it kind of is.  The workers compensation insurance company that pays out the first claim has what is called a “right of subrogation” against any recovery against the negligent motorist.  In other words, if the employee received $100,000 from the workers compensation case, the insurance company that paid that amount could get reimbursed up to that amount from any award the employee received from the lawsuit against the negligent motorist.  In practice however, the workers compensation insurance company will generally accept less than what they paid out in order to resolve the claim.

If you have questions about a workers compensation claim call me today for a free consultation.