A third-party liability claim is a claim that may be filed when a person suffers an injury at work due to the actions of another party other than their employer. Generally, workers who suffer an injury in the workplace are prohibited from filing a personal injury action against their employer except in cases where their employer acted wantonly and willfully.
Third-party liability claims are permissible under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. For example, Charleston third-party liability claims against subcontractors allow an injured worker to recover compensation for their injuries and losses by filing a civil action against a negligent third party.
In situations where people work alongside subcontractors and their employees, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault for an accident and injury. As such, if you were injured because of another party’s negligence, you may want to turn to a skilled attorney who could help you hold subcontractors accountable. A seasoned third-party liability lawyer could explain your rights and help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries.
Differences Between a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Third-Party Liability Claim
Third-party liability claims are distinguished from traditional workers’ compensation claims in several ways.
First, Charleston third-party liability claims against subcontractors are filed in civil court rather than through the workers’ compensation system. This means an injured worker must prove the other party is at fault for their injuries, whereas in the workers’ compensation system, an injured employee does not have to prove fault to receive compensation.
Second, in a workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker is filing a claim against their employer’s insurance carrier and not directly against their employer. However, in a third-party liability claim, an injured worker is filing a claim directly against the third party.
The amount of available damages is another major difference in workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims. The Workers’ Compensation Act limits the types, length of time, and amount of compensation an injured employee may recover. In a third-party liability claim, an injured employee can recover compensation for additional categories including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Filing Both A Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Third-Party Liability Claim
The Workers’ Compensation Act § 42-1-560 specifically provides that a worker’s right to compensation for workplace injuries is not affected by filing a workers’ compensation claim. This means a worker is entitled to file both a personal injury action against a third party and a workers’ compensation claim.
However, S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-560(b) prohibits an injured worker from recovering double compensation. This means that when a worker files both a personal injury claim in civil court and a workers’ compensation claim, the companies’ insurance carrier will have a lien against any proceeds to recover for their expenses.
For example, if an insurance carrier pays for a worker’s medical expenses, and in a subsequent third-party liability case the worker recovers compensation for their medical expenses, the insurance carrier is entitled to be reimbursed for initially paying the worker’s medical payments.
Hire an Accomplished Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you suffered an injury in the workplace due to the actions of an employee of another subcontractor, a personal injury lawyer could be an invaluable resource. A compassionate lawyer could guide you through the complex process of filing a third-party liability claim.
A lawyer could help gather evidence, conduct reviews of OSHA policies, and review subcontractor agreements to help file Charleston third-party liability claims against subcontractors.