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Workers' compensation versus third-party claims

Construction workers who are injured on the job might need to file for workers' compensation benefits. Understanding what these benefits can do might help you decide if this is the correct way to resolve your injury claim.

Many people don't realize that workers' compensation benefits might not be the only ones that they can seek. In some cases, injured workers have the right to sue a third party for their injuries. They can't sue their employer because the workers' compensation laws prohibit this.

If you make a third-party claim, you need to show that the party you are suing had some sort of negligent or reckless act that led to your injury. For example, if you cut your hand when a circular saw malfunctions, you might have a claim against the manufacturer if the malfunction was a defect or design flaw.

There are some big differences between workers' compensation and third-party claims. Typically, workers' compensation will offer specific benefits like medical care coverage and possibly lost wage compensation. You will be able to undergo evaluations to determine if the benefits should continue beyond the initial approval. This is possible up to a specific term that is based on the type of injury you suffer and where it is located.

A third-party claim might be a one-and-done ordeal. You will make a claim for the total cost of the injury and then the settlement or award will be a one-time event that provides you with a certain dollar amount. You can't ask for more money if you find that this amount isn't sufficient to cover the injury.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Compensation Benefits Explained," accessed April 13, 2018

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