19 Jun Receiving Workers’ Compensation and Suing a Third-Party Entity for Damages
Workplace accidents come with many issues attached to the event. Where there is a serious life-threatening injury and the circumstances surrounding the event are more than just the workplace itself, the evidence must show that a third-party entity may also be involved. A sample situation of an accident caused by a third party can be found in the following story.
John D. was using an extension ladder to get up to an upper platform while working in an auto manufacturing building. While he made it up to the platform without any trouble when he started down the ladder again, the slide lock gave way (,) and John slid down then fell backward off the ladder. He landed on his back on top of a flat cart below and was severely injured. His spine was damaged, and it was determined that he likely could never work again.
When the extension ladder company and its product were investigated, several similar cases to John’s were discovered with that same extension ladder. The company had never issued a recall on the product, so they were liable for the damages to John.
John would collect workers’ compensation for medical bills, physical rehabilitation if possible, and salary benefits relevant to his spine injury. He also chose to sue the manufacturer for an amount that would compensate for pain and suffering, the loss of his job (career), and whatever else was allowed under state law. He had two separate attorneys: the workers’ compensation attorney and a personal injury attorney to handle his respective cases. He won both cases although the personal injury case took three years before it was settled in his favor.
Every Accident is Unique
The circumstances around every work-place accident are always unique and the evidence must be gathered to determine who is to blame when there are multiple factors in place. When third-party manufacturers of faulty equipment are part of a lawsuit like John’s, the case must be filed in that state and the settlement is based on what that state’s limitation law allows for personal injury lawsuits. That is also dependent, too, on what the company’s insurance company allows under these situations. Only attorneys can advise you about what to expect.
When building a case for a personal injury lawsuit, sometimes it takes a while because John goes through many medical procedures, rehabilitation, the costs involved for all of it, and other components needed that help build the case against the ladder company. John, who was 32, had his whole life ahead of him but the spinal injuries now cut down on his physical activities.
Settlements usually refer to an out-of-court agreement between the parties involved, instead of taking the case to court to be tried. There is always the potential that John might have lost the case had it gone to court, even though he had all the evidence in his favor. Such decisions about which way to go should be discussed between you and both attorneys named above.
Arizona is a no-fault state, meaning that you should be able to collect your workers’ compensation benefits, even if your accident was your fault. However, if the employer claims you purposely created your accident, then you would get nothing if the employer is proven correct.
Your workers’ compensation attorney can advise you with the best way to go in filing your claim and let you know if there might need to be any repayment to workers’ compensation, should you receive a third-party settlement. Usually, there is no repayment requirement, but it is wise to make sure of this in advance. Only your workers’ compensation attorney can advise you.
If you need help with filing your workers’ compensation claim, call us at once for a consultation. We are here to help you. 602-346-9009.