How Do Third Party Workplace Injury Claims Work in Fort Smith?
If you have been injured in a Fort Smith workplace accident, you have two main options to seek financial compensation for your injuries. You can either file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim. Workers’ compensation claims are the default claim when an accident or injury results from an employer’s negligence. Additionally, workers’ compensation claims are permitted even when employer negligence is not involved—such as a scenario in which a worker’s negligence is the cause of their injuries. However, there are certain situations where an injured employee can pursue a third party personal injury claim.
What Is a Fort Smith Third Party Personal Injury Claim?
In many ways, the facts giving rise to a third party personal injury claim are similar to those in a workers’ compensation claim: An employee is injured due to an accident or illness resulting from their employment. However, the main difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury case involves the negligence of a non-employer.
Workers’ compensation claims are an injured workers’ sole remedy against their employer, barring unusual circumstances. This means that, unless the negligence of a non-employer is involved in causing an accident, the injured worker’s only choice is to bring a worker’s compensation claim.
However, when a non-employer third party causes a workers’ injury, the injured employee can pursue a third-party workplace injury claim.
Proving a Fort Smith Third Party Injury Claim
While the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault program, that is not the case for third party personal injury claims. To succeed in any personal injury case, you must establish that the named defendant or defendants were negligent. In this context, negligence is a legal term requiring an accident victim to establish four elements:
• The defendant owed you a duty of care;
• The defendant breached the duty of care owed to you;
• The defendant’s actions or failure to act caused the accident resulting in your injuries; and
• You suffered legally recognizable damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A., we have extensive experience handling both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. We can effectively advise you which makes the most sense in your situation.
Examples of Third Party Injury Claims
An injured worker can bring a third-party workplace accident claim anytime a non-employer’s negligence caused the worker’s injuries. Claims can arise for many reasons; however, a few of the most common examples include the following:
• A negligent driver causes an accident while you are driving for your job;
• You suffer a workplace accident due to a dangerous or defective product;
• An employee of another company acts negligently, causing an accident; and
• A customer, supplier, or vendor negligently causes your injuries.
In each of these situations, you were injured on the job, but your injuries cannot be traced back to your employer’s negligence. Instead, your injuries were due to some other third party’s negligence.
Damages in Fort Smith Third Party Injury Claim
The main benefit of third party work injury claims is that they allow for unavailable damages through a workers’ compensation claim. In a Fort Smith workers’ comp claim, you can recover two main types of benefits: medical benefits and income-replacement benefits. These benefits are important; however, they do not compensate you for all the damages you sustained. Most notably, you cannot recover non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages are those designed to compensate you for the emotional or psychological impact that the accident had on your life. While every case is unique, some of the most common types of non-economic damages in a Fort Smith third party injury claim include:
• Pain and suffering;
• Emotional distress;
• Loss of enjoyment of life; and
• Loss of familial relationships.
Non-economic damages are crucial to obtaining fair compensation after an accident. Thus, whenever possible, injured workers should pursue a third-party workplace injury case.
Have You Been Hurt in a Fort Smith Workplace Accident?
If you recently suffered serious injuries in a workplace accident, and want to learn more about your options, reach out to the dedicated Fort Smith workplace injury lawyers at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. At our Arkansas personal injury law firm, we focus exclusively on workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, giving us an in-depth knowledge of these areas. We can help you understand your options and determine which path is best for your particular situation. We also offer all injured workers a free consultation, during which we will answer all your questions and explain the process in clear, understandable terms. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with a Fort Smith workplace injury attorney, give us a call today at 479-361-3575. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.