California Injury Attorneys
Since 1978

Can you file a third-party lawsuit?

| Feb 17, 2021

If you are an employee of a construction company, you typically cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer because of an accident on the job site. Rather, you would receive workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault system. 

However, sometimes injuries have complicated causes and the negligence of someone outside the company may be partly to blame. If this is the case, according to ABA Law Info, you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for damages related to your injury. 

Under what circumstances can you file a third-party lawsuit?

Any time the negligence of a third party, unconnected to your company, contributes to your injury, there is at least a possibility of filing a lawsuit to collect damages from the responsible entity. In the context of the construction industry, the manufacturer of a piece of equipment or building material may have sold a product that was unsafe. For example, the machinery you must use for work may be faulty or building materials may give off toxic fumes that, when breathed in, damaged your lungs. 

How does a third-party lawsuit affect your workers’ compensation?

Generally speaking, if you receive workers’ compensation prior to receiving damages from a third-party lawsuit, you must pay it back upon receiving your award or settlement. Damages from your lawsuit typically pay you for future lost wages as well as past lost wages. You may also collect non-economic damages related to pain and suffering. Once you have reimbursed workers’ compensation and fulfilled any other obligations, the rest of your award is yours to keep and use. 

Your eligibility for a third-party lawsuit is not automatic. There are many requirements you must meet. Additionally, you may not stand to recover enough to make filing a lawsuit worth your while.