Third-Party Liability Claims in a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Case
While you cannot sue your employer in a Georgia workers’ compensation case, you are allowed to bring a lawsuit against any other parties who were involved in your loss. For these types of claims, it’s important to retain a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney who has experience with third-party liability claims.
What Does Third-Party Liability Mean?
The term third-party liability here references a situation involving a workplace accident that was the result of an outside party’s negligence. One example is a situation where you are using company machinery and something malfunctions. You could have a claim against the company that manufactured the piece of equipment, which is what caused your accident. Another example would be if you are driving a company vehicle while conducting work-related business and you are involved in an accident where the other driver was at fault. You would have a third-party liability claim against the driver who caused the accident.
This means you have the right to bring a separate civil suit against the negligent parties in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim against your employer.
How Can You Prove Liability Against a Third Party?
Similar to a standard personal injury claim, there are certain criteria your claim must meet in order to show liability. These include:
- The other party owed you a duty;
- The third party breached that duty; and
- The third-party’s breach of that duty is the proximate cause of your injuries.
Using the machine example above, you would have to show the company who manufactured the equipment violated their duty to produce functional and safe products, and their failure to do so is what caused your accident and injuries.
There are situations where a third-party liability claim may not apply. If you are run over by a co-worker operating a forklift, you might assume it’s an automatic third-party liability claim. However, if that employee is new and had no training on the forklift, he or she can point to the employer being at fault for inadequate training. This is why you need a good attorney to help determine when third-party liability applies and what your options are.
When Do You File a Third-Party Injury Lawsuit?
When you believe you have a third-party lawsuit, you should file your claim in a timely manner. Georgia workers’ compensation laws allow you to recover only a portion of your damages, but a third-party liability claim allows you to collect for additional damage options. You cannot only collect for your medical bills and loss of earnings; you can collect for noneconomic damages. These include loss of earning capabilities, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. Your Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on all the damages available in your particular case.
Retaining a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
At Christopher Simon Attorney at Law, our firm focuses on workers’ compensation cases. Combined, our attorneys have over 30 years of trial experience in Georgia, and our team includes attorneys who used to work for insurance companies. If you need assistance with a workers’ compensation and/or third-party liability claim related to a workplace accident, contact our office today at (404) 259-7635 to schedule a consultation.