In the vast majority of workplace injury lawsuits, workers will have the ability to file a workers' compensation claim. However, they might not be able to file an actual personal injury lawsuit relating to their injuries. This is because state workers' compensation laws generally protect employers from work injury-related lawsuits. Nevertheless, in some situations, employees might be able to file what is called a third party lawsuit if another party is also deemed liable for their work-related injuries.
As a hypothetical example of this kind of situation, let's consider a television cable employee who was electrocuted while installing cable. The television company sent him to a residence to install cable and internet access at an apartment building that is currently being built. While installing the cable and internet lines, however, the cable employee gets exposed to a high voltage wire and suffers a serious injury as a result.
Since he was working at the time of his injury, this cable employee will have the ability to file a workers' compensation claim. In other words, his employer will be responsible for his medical care and other related expenses to be paid via the workers' compensation insurance provider. However, the company that owns the apartment building and/or the construction company in charge of the project may also be liable for the cable man's electric shock injuries. For example, the apartment complex might be liable for gross negligence because it requested that the cable man install electrical lines even though high voltage wires were exposed.
At the Law Office of Jack L. Stillman, PA, we always evaluate new Pennsylvania workers' compensation claims for third party liability. Indeed, this is an important step in our process because when a third party claim can be made, it may serve to considerably augment the financial recovery of our client.