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Fort Smith Third Party Lawsuit Attorneys

Experienced Lawyers Who Fight for Injured Arkansas Workers with Third Party Claims

In most Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) cases, filing an injury claim with the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission is the only remedy. It also does not require workers to prove any fault. No matter what type of industry a person works in, there is always a risk of obtaining severe injuries on the job. If an injury happens at the workplace during one’s daily job duties, the injured employee may seek compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim.

If a third party is involved in causing a worker’s injuries or death, it does not affect the worker’s rights, or the rights of their dependents, to launch a claim or court action against a third party. A third-party lawsuit is a civil action and typically involves proving negligence. Arkansas is one of four states that allow workers to file personal injury lawsuits against a co-worker. 

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If the claims made to deny workers' compensation are false, you have the right to appeal the decision. At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we are with you every step of the way

Speaking with one of our attorneys can help ease your burden and stress.

Various rules, regulations, restrictions, and exceptions complicate workers’ compensation claims. This is why the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield offers you outstanding legal representation in not only any aspects of a workers’ compensation claim but in representation for a third-party lawsuit. We can explain that to you while discussing your case and determine that you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries.

Sustaining severe injuries is no joke and should be taken seriously. Navigating a third-party lawsuit and trying to understand Arkansas law alone is not ideal. Only an experienced Fort Smith third-party lawsuit attorney can help determine what type of case you have, craft an effective strategy, and fight on your behalf.

Negligence is the Key to a Third-Party Lawsuit

In third-party claims the following elements must be present:
  • Duty – The plaintiff must show the defendant owed a legal obligation to them according to the circumstances of the case. For example, an employer owes an employee a legal duty to provide an adequate workspace to complete all tasks and share safety protocols for the worksite.
  • Breach – The plaintiff must show that the legal duty of care and caution to others around them was breached by the defendant failing to act in a certain careful way. For example, did the defendant breach a duty by not doing, or doing something, that a “reasonably prudent person” would not do under those same circumstances? If an average person would not do something, knowing what the defendant did at the time of the accident and knowing it could cause an injury, they would not have executed that action.
Proving a Personal Injury Case

Negligence must be present if you wish to file a third-party claim due to a workplace incident. An injured employee would be considered the plaintiff, and the employer would be considered the defendant.

What does Arkansas Workers' Compensation cover?
In third-party claims the following elements must be present:
  • Causation – The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions, or conversely, inactions, were the direct cause of their injuries. The plaintiff can only recover compensation for damages if negligence caused those injuries. For example, if an employer failed to share safety protocols and train employees on OSHA standards, the plaintiff could argue that the employer’s inaction caused their serious injuries. However, if an injury was sustained due to randomness and was unexpected, a defendant could be held not responsible.
  • Damages/Harm – The plaintiff must prove that another party harmed them directly due to the defendant’s actions. If this is confirmed, the court compensates the injured survivor.
If a third party is involved in causing a workers’ injuries or death, they may be able to launch a claim or court action against that third party. Third-party claims do not prohibit you from filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Can A Co-Worker Be Sued for a Workplace Injury?

The short answer is usually no. Being injured by a co-worker does not grant a person permission to file a lawsuit. An injured employee must prove that specific conduct from another worker were intentional.

On the other hand, if you were in a truck heading to another job site and the driver of the car was negligently speeding and involved in a collision, the driver could be held liable for any injuries you sustained.

It is essential to know that third-party claims do not prohibit you from filing a workers’ compensation claim. At the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we can explain all your legal options and rights to allow you to make an informed decision about your course of action.

Attorneys discussing a case

Can The AWCC Deny Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes, the AWCC can deny your claim. The primary goal of an insurer is to make profits. That provides a strong incentive to deny claims, even valid ones. If there is a reason for an insurance company to reject your request for workers’ compensation, it probably will. Go HERE to find out why your workers’ compensation claim was denied.

Due to the complexity of this type of issue, checking in with an experienced personal injury attorney who also works with workers’ compensation claims is the best of both worlds.

The Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield can explain all the angles to you, how the process works, what you may expect, what roadblocks you may encounter, and what your legal rights are. 

What is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Lawsuit and a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Workers’ compensation allows injured workers to obtain financial benefits without proving fault in court. Proof of medical treatment is needed, and the amount of the lost wages would also be calculated.

In a personal injury lawsuit, an injured party must establish that the other party is negligent in their actions. A hurt worker could recover their lost income and non-economic damages successfully. For further information on this issue, go HERE.


Cases Where Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover a Worker’s Injuries

There are some instances where workers’ compensation does not cover a person’s injuries. If you are in a predicament such as this, you may have to take an alternative route in handling your case in court. Some situations in which you may be able to take your claim for compensation to court include:
Cases Where Workers’ Compensation Does Not Cover a Worker’s Injuries
  • If an employer intentionally harmed you. In this instance, you can file a lawsuit and are not required to file a workers’ compensation claim. Make sure you discuss your case thoroughly with the workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys at one of our nearby offices.
  • If you work for the federal government. A federal employee is not covered under the Arkansas workers’ compensation program. However, you may qualify for federal workers’ compensation.
  • If you are classified as a contractor. If you are not an employee who is eligible for workers’ compensation, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company that hired you.
In Arkansas, a worker injured on the job may receive compensation from more than one source. An example would be receiving benefits from an employer and a third party without losing workers’ compensation benefits. However, the AWCC may reduce disability or other benefits if you receive income from a lawsuit.
Arkansas third party work injury lawsuits

Each case is different and before you file any documents, discuss your case with an experienced Fort Smith workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney.

Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield P.A.

The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. represents workers’ compensation claims from Northwest Arkansas, including Fort SmithRogersSpringdaleFayettevilleBentonville, Berryville, and Harrison. Call us today for your free consultation at (479) 361-3575.

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