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Does your work injury involve a third party?

Let us say you work for a manufacturing company a few miles from Santa Fe Springs. The equipment you use at work malfunctioned and you sustained a fractured wrist.

Under California law, you are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits—but could there also be third-party liability here?

Fractures are common

The Travelers Companies released its 2016 Injury Impact Report, which revealed the most common work-related injuries in the U.S. The company reviewed 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims filed between 2010 and 2014. The most claims were for strains and sprains, followed by cuts/punctures, then contusions. Inflammation took fourth place, and fractures took fifth.

Frequent causes of workplace injuries

The Travelers report went on to list frequent causes of work-related injuries. Material handling was in first place, followed by slips, trips and falls. Colliding with an object was listed as the third most frequent cause, and accidents involving tools and equipment came in fourth.

About the third-party claim

Third-party liability associated with a work-related injury is not uncommon. If we use the example of the wrist injury you suffered because of a defective piece of equipment, let us ask the question: Did the manufacturer know about the defect? If this is the case, and the manufacturer did not alert you or your employer about the problem, that company could be looking at a lawsuit for personal injury.

Having an advocate

Explore your legal options. If you file a claim for workers’ compensation by yourself, you may make a simple mistake that could cause the insurance company either to deny your claim or to offer significantly fewer benefits than what you should have had. This is reason enough to engage the help of an advocate, an attorney experienced with workers’ compensation insurance negotiations. However, having an advocate becomes even more important if you are also able to recover damages from a third party.

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