Michigan workers’ comp lawyer discusses third party claim and how to get additional pain and suffering damages.
Getting hurt on-the-job can turn someone’s life upside down. It can result in expensive medical bills and a period of lost wages. Medical bills can quickly add up and lead to bankruptcy. Employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck might not be able to support their family. Workers’ comp is designed as a safety net to cover medical and wage loss regardless of how the accident occurred. But what about damages for pain and suffering? Here is some information about workers’ comp and third party claim that everyone should know.
Many of our clients are confused between these two claims. They get upset when told about their legal rights and how they cannot sue an employer for negligence. It does not seem fair that an employer who was negligent gets off free and clear. We explain that workers’ comp is the exclusive remedy and it only guarantees medical and wage loss benefits. In exchange, the employer gets protection from civil lawsuits. It is not a perfect system, but it is a balance of labor and business interests.
A third party claim is a different type of case and should not be confused with workers’ comp. It involves a civil lawsuit against a third party who was not part of the employee-employer relationship. We see this when an employee gets hurt in a motor vehicle accident that some other driver caused. It is also common in situations where a general or subcontractor was negligent on a construction site. Sometimes a civil lawsuit can be filed against a manufacturer of a product or machine. Even the companies who are just hired to maintain equipment can be held accountable if they are negligent in their duties.
Damages for a third party lawsuit include pain and suffering. This is not something that can be sought in a workers’ comp case but is paid in addition. We have seen many third party cases that have settlement value more than any workers’ comp claim.
Insurance companies have a statutory lien against any third party claim. The amount that must be paid back to workers’ comp is based upon a complicated formula. Watch out because insurance companies try to get all their money back and will even reduce future workers’ comp payments.
It is important to speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer whenever there is an on-the-job accident. He or she can make sure that legal rights are protected, and all potential avenues of recovery are explored. A settlement involving workers’ comp and third party claim must be coordinated in a way that puts money in the employee’s pocket not the insurance company.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.