The workers’ compensation system specifically provides workers the right to file for both worker’s compensation and for a third-party liability claim. Specifically, S.C Code. Section 42-1-550 provides, “when an employee… may have a right to recover damages for injury from any person other than the employer, they may institute an action at law against such third person.”
If you or someone you know suffered an injury at work because of a bridge worker, contact a Charleston third-party liability claims lawyer at Howell & Christmas to discuss filing a Charleston third-party liability claim against bridge workers.
Third-party Liability Claims Affecting Rights to Workers’ Compensation
Many workers want to know if they must choose between filing a workers’ compensation claim and a Charleston third-party liability claim against bridge workers. Fortunately, workers may file both claims.
South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act Section 42-1-560(a) provides, the right to compensation and other benefits under this title shall not be affected by the fact that the injury or death is caused under circumstances creating a legal liability in some person, other than the employer.
Time Limits on Liability Claims
Under Section 42-1-560(b) of South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act, an injured employee may pursue a third-party liability claim up to one year after their employer’s insurance company accepts liability. This is an important distinction between traditional personal injury cases, which must begin within two years after an injury.
Contractors and Sub-Contractors Filing Third-Party Liability Claims
There are often contractors and sub-contractors working on a bridge construction or maintenance project. In some cases, these workers may be unsure how to proceed if they suffered an injury due to a third-party bridge worker.
However, the workers’ compensation system explicitly provides that both contractors and subcontractors who suffer injuries during their employment may recover workers’ compensation payments under Sections 42-1-400 and 42-1-410 respectively.
Differences in Compensation
There are numerous differences between filing a workers’ compensation claim and filing a Charleston third-party liability claim against bridge workers. However, one of the most notable and impactful differences is in the types and amount of compensation a person may receive under each system
The workers’ compensation system alleviates some of the legal burdens of filing a workplace injury claim. However, by choosing to file a workers’ compensation claim a person is agreeing to accept certain compensation limits. Currently, a worker can recover medical expenses and disability up to a maximum weekly compensation rate of $838.21.
However, third-party liability claims do not fall under the jurisdiction of the workers’ compensation system, rather they are under the civil court system. Under the civil court system, a court will look to restore an injured worker back to the position they were in prior to the accident or injury. Therefore, many of the limits imposed by the workers’ compensation limits do not exist. Because third-party liability claims are personal injury claims a person would, therefore, be entitled to compensation covering:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages
Notably, many of these types of compensation are available under the workers’ compensation system. However, South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act Section 42-1-560 prohibits a person from recovering twice. This means if a person recovers compensation for their medical expenses under the workers’ compensation system, their employer’s insurance carrier would be entitled to equivalent medical expenses that they may recover in a subsequent third-party liability case.
Benefits of Working with a Charleston Third-Party Liability Claims Lawyer
If you suffered an injury at work due to a bridge worker, you may consider filing a Charleston third-party liability claim against bridge workers to recover compensation for your injuries or losses.
A Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer can help explain your rights and options under either the workers’ compensation system or the civil system, with a focus on helping you recover from your losses. Call today for a free consultation.